Investment bankers launch TruStar Bank Advisors

Craig Mueller and David Stieber — two experienced investment bankers in the community banking arena — recently established a new advisory practice. TruStar Bank Advisors opened on Jan. 2, offering investment banking and advisory services to community banks, bank holding companies, bank owners and specialty finance companies throughout the Midwest.

Leveraging experience from Oak Ridge Financial where both worked for more than a decade, Mueller and Stieber raise capital, facilitate merger and acquisition opportunities, and provide strategic consulting from their Twin Cities office. While at Oak Ridge Financial, the pair were involved in more than 75 transactions and advisory assignments involving community banks.

“We are excited to move our practice to the TruStar brand providing our advisory services with continued competency, performance and integrity,” Mueller said.

“TruStar will continue to provide high-quality M&A advisory, fairness opinions, and valuation services to our clients,” Stieber added. “Importantly, our capital offering capabilities will be enhanced via our affiliation with Patrick Capital Markets.”

Mueller, managing partner and co-founder of TruStar Bank Advisors, brings nearly 40 years of experience and deep relationships related to community banking. Mueller spent the first 13 years of his career at American National Bank of St. Paul as a commercial lender and then transitioned to its Investment Department. He then joined Dain Rauscher, Inc., and started its Financial Institutions Unit in the Fixed Income Department. Mueller also was a member of the elite “Chairman’s Council” and liaised with corporate, public and specialty finance divisions gaining insight and experience in each group. Mueller was Managing Director and Co-head of the Financial Institutions Group at Oak Ridge Financial for nearly 17 years.

In 1997, Mueller was a seed investor in the Twin Cities de novo bank that now has more than $1 billion in assets. This launched an opportunity to enter investment banking by assisting another six groups to start de novo banks. During this process, Mueller sat on two bank holding company boards of directors, learning first-hand the meaning of fiduciary responsibility.

Mueller has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in finance from Creighton University, Omaha, Neb.

Stieber, also Managing Partner and co-founder of TruStar Bank Advisors, brings nearly 25 years of experience advising community banks, mergers and acquisitions, equity and debt capital, stock valuation and other general financial advisory assignments. During his career, Stieber has worked on more than 100 completed assignments for community banks.

Stieber spent 14 years at Oak Ridge Financial as Managing Director and Co-head of its Financial Institutions Group focused on the community banking industry. Prior to Oak Ridge Financial, Stieber acted as a consultant to a major Midwestern financial institution working directly with senior management on M&A strategies, target identification and analysis. Stieber started his career at RBC Capital Markets, spending 10 years working with financial institutions in the central United States.