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2018 Men of the Year: Craig Dunn

Regent Bank

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Leadership is in Craig Dunn’s DNA. Since childhood, he found himself put into leadership roles that grew with age until he today finds himself with the title of president of Regent Bank in Springfield.

“From an early age, I have always understood that leadership is something that you earn,” he says. “I have always believed that education and related leadership roles are essential to becoming a leader in one’s endeavors.”

Dunn’s education includes a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics with emphasis in Spanish, a master’s in administration with emphasis on business and a graduate degree from the Graduate School of Banking. His banking career began in 1996 at Central Bank of the Ozarks, followed by time at Citizens National Bank before returning to Central Bank of the Ozarks, Bear State Bank and finally Regent Bank since February 2018.

One of Dunn’s proudest moments was during his employment at Metropolitan National, the predecessor to Bear State Bank. During the Great Recession, lending nearly came to a halt, Dunn says, and the bank’s leaders were left to rebuild the lending department. Hired in 2012, Dunn went to work.

“I was given complete autonomy to build, influence and lead a commercial lending team that was instrumental in returning MNB to a profitable status with increasing trends year over year,” he says.

Part of succeeding, Dunn says, was through creating a winning culture. Being picky with who he brought onto the team, along with holding one-on-one meetings with employees contributed to creating an atmosphere of teamwork.

“I fully realize that I am only as good as the team that supports me,” Dunn says.

This experience led to his proudest accomplishment yet: establishing Regent Bank in Springfield. At the time, the bank system was only looking to hire one individual to start a branch in the Queen City. And although Dunn wanted to be that person, he did not want to leave his team behind.

“After multiple discussions, I was able to convince them to take a look at this amazing team I was leading at Bear State Bank,” he says. “It only took one joint meeting for Regent to agree with me, and the rest is history.”

Dunn brought with him Mike McGoldrick, a senior vice president at Bear State, and Nick Burlison and Kim Cash, both vice presidents. Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Regent Bank has a five-year plan to grow assets to $250 million and employees to 25 under Dunn.

In addition to providing support and a culture of teamwork for his employees at Regent Bank, Dunn supports numerous local causes and charities – including repelling off the Sky Eleven building three years in a row for the Child Advocacy Center Inc., serving on the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield Foundation board and being a founding member of the Missouri Bankers Association’s Young Bankers Leadership Division board of directors.

“I have had the honor and privilege of leading multiple civic organizations over the years and I have not once regretted the time spent mentoring and leading the amazing teams behind these organizations,” Dunn says.

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