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McKenzie Robinson | SBJ

2021 Trusted Advisers Banker: Luke Fraser

OakStar Bank

Posted online

In his 15-year career as a commercial banker, Luke Fraser has helped home-based businesses grow to large regional and even national companies through finding the right banking solutions. He says his role is to help guide clients through complex lending and deposit transactions. But finding those solutions for fast-growing companies isn’t always easy.

In 2019, he says he connected with Joplin-based US Assets Recovery LLC about its need for a multimillion-dollar capital loan with specific collateral. The manufacturing company had visited other banks, but Fraser says it wasn’t able to secure the type of capital needed for its goals. Over six months working with the client, Fraser found a USDA loan that fit their needs, and he and his team worked through the complicated application process.

“At the closing table, the clients told me that nobody else had taken the time to figure out the puzzle and that what myself and the team at OakStar Bank came up with was exactly what they were looking for,” he says.

The transaction led to a new division for US Assets Recovery, Fraser says, and the client boosted hiring.

Since joining OakStar in 2019 as a senior vice president of commercial lending, Fraser has built a $190 million loan portfolio with 75 clients. That’s up nearly double from 2018. He previously held roles at Springfield First Community Bank and BancorpSouth Bank.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and an MBA from Missouri State University.

At OakStar, Fraser serves on the bank’s management team and as an executive voting member of the Board Loan Committee. He also serves on the team that evaluates bank merger and acquisition opportunities.

Fraser says the past 18 months of the coronavirus pandemic took his work to a new level. He was part of a group of bankers that worked in shifts to be available to customers 24/7 to process the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program loans.

“Myself, along with the dedicated team at OakStar Bank, made it our mission that we were not going to let any of our clients miss the opportunity to get their SBA PPP applications funded,” he says. “Many viewed this program as their only chance to keep their business alive during this unprecedented time.”

He says OakStar funded over $152 million in PPP applications, and his clients alone received $25 million in the federal relief aid.

Rochette Dahler, CEO and founder of Little Sunshine’s Enterprises Inc., says Fraser is her company’s primary banker and he handles nearly all of the multistate preschool’s loan needs.

“He is the most capable to think through the complexity, find the value and return terms that make sense to achieve our goals,” Dahler says. “In many cases, I have found Luke to be the only banker who can get a specific deal financed in the way I envision it.”

Outside of the office, Fraser volunteers with Habitat for Humanity of Springfield. His role on the executive board helps guide the nonprofit in securing residential land and lots. He also is on the board of the Paisley Collins Memorial Foundation, which is named after his niece who died of leukemia at 2 years old. The organization supports families who have a child diagnosed with cancer.

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