ARLINGTON, VA-Virginia Commerce Bancorp, which has approximately $3 billion in assets, is exploring a sale, according to a published report.

The bank, which recently repaid its government bailout, has hired Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP to manage the sale process, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. That same person stated that Sandler began reaching out to potential bidders before Christmas and that first-round bids are due in mid-January.

David Franecki, a Sandler O’Neill spokesman, declined comment. Mark Merrill, chief financial officer of Virginia Commerce, could not be reached for comment. Virginia Commerce, which was founded in 1988, has 28 branches, a mortgage office and wealth management department. See Bloomberg story.