The U.S. Treasury on Monday extended the deadline for fund managers to apply to its toxic securities purchase program by two weeks, and said it widened its criteria for selecting these firms.

The new deadline for application to run public-private investment funds to buy so-called legacy securities weighing down bank balance sheets is now April 24, with preliminary decisions expected by May 15.

The new guidance extends the deadline for the application to the program and clarifies that participation criteria will be viewed holistically -- failure to meet any one criterion will not necessarily disqualify a proposal, the Treasury said in a statement.

(Reporting by David Lawder, Editing by Walker Simon)