Helping Others Defined Craig Ellis’ Career

To say Craig Ellis has little ego is a complete understatement. When asked to reflect on his successful 19-year career at BBOK, Craig simply states he hasn’t thought much about the accomplishments he’s had. Instead, he focuses the conversation on how much he admires what bankers do for their communities and how honored he is when BBOK can help banks deliver loan solutions to their customers when they may not have been able to on their own. He talks about how gratifying it is to see a company or individual whom BBOK assisted do well. He tells stories of the retired bankers who helped make him better – Vern Wasinger, Bruce Schriefer and Jay Olsen. He raves about the great team at BBOK – Calvin Coady, Tim Binns and Cathy Gaines – to name just a few.

What Craig doesn’t speak about are his individual contributions to the successes of BBOK’s lending department through the years. He was instrumental in introducing new products that help lenders throughout the state such as the leasing program, the fixed rate loan program and most recently the mortgage program. He doesn’t recount the 18-hour days at the beginning of the pandemic learning everything he could about PPP loans and creating a solution to help Kansas bankers get money into their small business customers hands quickly while not interrupting their internal workflow.

“Craig would rather help somebody than be helped,” says Calvin Coady. Craig’s perceptive. When he sees something needs to be done, he’s the first to offer help. If someone needs to work through their lunch, he delivers them a sandwich. At the end of an especially stressful work week, he offers beer on the patio. That is when Craig’s dry humor and wit shine – telling stories on the patio.

One story Calvin tells is when Craig sold his house. The weekend before closing Craig called the new homeowner to ask if he could re-stain the deck for them. He wanted to leave them a home in pristine condition. This story is the epitome of Craig – a humble, supportive man who always exhibits high integrity.

In retirement, Craig doesn’t see his days being filled with golfing and travel (although he plans to do some of both!) Instead, he will continue to help others by volunteering for SCORE, a program within the SBA that offers mentor opportunities to people wanting to start a new business. He plans to remain involved with his homeowner’s association and investment club. He also knows there are plenty of honey-do items in waiting. No doubt Craig will continue to spend most of his time in retirement doing what Craig does best – quietly lift others up.

BBOK welcomes our bank partners who want to send well-wishes or your favorite memory of Peg and Craig, to please email those to happytrails@bbok.com.