Commerce Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBSH) is a registered bank holding company based in Missouri with primary hubs in Kansas City and St. Louis. It is the corporate parent of Commerce Bank, which offers a diversified line of financial services, including business and personal banking, wealth management and estate planning, and investments through its affiliated companies.
Commerce operates in approximately 300 branch and ATM locations across Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Colorado and also has operating subsidiaries involved in mortgage banking, credit-related insurance, venture capital, and real estate activities.
As of March 31, 2021, Commerce Bank was the 62nd largest commercial bank in the United States, as reported by the Federal Reserve Bank. Commerce Bank ranked 51st on the Forbes list of America’s Best Banks 2021. Forbes has named Commerce Bank to its America’s Best Banks list for 12 consecutive years.
History of Commerce Bancshares
Commerce was founded by Francis Reid Long with $10,000 in the capital in 1865, just as communities were rebuilding after the Civil War. Originally known as the Kansas City Savings Association, it was acquired in 1881 by William Stone Woods and renamed the National Bank of Commerce, claiming at the time to be the largest bank west of Chicago. Dr. Stone would transform the Kansas City bank into a modern financial institution.
The bank became Commerce Bank in 1903 with William Thornton Kemper Sr. as its first president. Kemper set up one of his sons, James M. Kemper, at Commerce and his other son, Rufus Crosby Kemper Sr., at the competing City Center Bank, which later became UMB Financial Corporation.
Members of the Kemper family still play a dominant role at both banks. They also are a major force in Missouri philanthropies, with their names attached to numerous buildings throughout the state, including Kemper Arena.
After World War II, Commerce Bank continued to play an important role in the Midwest’s growth. It funded business growth, working with H&R Block, Sprint (originally called United Utilities), and Trans World Airlines, which had its main overhaul base at Kansas City International Airport. Commerce helped the owner of Marion Laboratories buy the Kansas City Royals in 1969. Commerce remains the Royals’ bank.
From the 1960s to the 1990s, Commerce grew alongside the American economy, expanding throughout Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois. When the financial crisis caused a recession in 2008, Commerce was the country’s sixth-largest bank to decline financial assistance from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program TARP.
Appearing regularly on Forbes’ list of America’s Best Banks, Commerce later added Colorado and Oklahoma to its banking footprint, with additional commercial offices throughout the Midwest and commercial payments services available in 48 states.
Lines of business ( Commerce Bancshares )
Commercial Banking – Commerce Bank serves more than 13,000 businesses through its commercial banking and payments businesses. The bank’s commercial services include corporate lending, merchant and commercial bank card products, payment solutions, leasing, and international services, as well as business and government deposit, investment, and cash management services. The commercial banking business contributed 52 percent of Commerce Bank’s pre-tax income in 2020.
Consumer Banking – Commerce Bank’s consumer banking serves more than 1.1 million households with approximately 300 branch and ATM locations in its retail network, along with online and mobile banking. The bank’s consumer services include consumer checking, installment loans, personal mortgages, and consumer debt and credit bank cards. The consumer banking business contributed 25 percent of Commerce Bank’s pre-tax income in 2020.
Wealth Management – Commerce Bank provides investment management, financial planning, trust, and private banking services to individuals and institutions through Commerce Financial Advisors, Commerce Trust Company, a division of Commerce Bank, and The Private Bank and Commerce Family Office, both operating units of Commerce Trust Company. With more than $62.2 billion in total assets under management, Commerce Trust Company ranked 17th in bank-managed trust companies in 2020, according to S&P Global Market intelligence. Commerce Bank’s wealth management businesses contributed 22 percent the bank’s pre-tax income in 2020.
Awards and recognition of Commerce Bancshares
Newsweek named Commerce Bank one of America’s Best Banks for Best Customer Service. The award recognizes banks with the fewest problems reported to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, timely response rate to complaints, a helpful mobile app and a variety of dedicated customer service lines.
Forbes named Commerce Bank one of America’s Best Banks for the 12th consecutive year. Commerce ranked 38th in the 2021 ranking.
Other 2021 Forbes rankings included
- World’s Best Banks 2021 – Commerce Bank is one of only 75 banks in the United States to be recognized on the Forbes list, which includes 500 banks from 28 countries around the world.
- Global 2000 – 2021 – Ranked 1,600 – The Global 2000 ranks the world’s largest companies based on assets, market value, sales and profit.
- America’s Best Midsize Employers 2021 – Ranked 354th
- Best Banks in Missouri – Ranked 4th
- Best Employers in Missouri – Ranked 49th
Global Finance named The Private Bank at Commerce Trust Company the 2021 Best U.S. Regional Private Bank in the Midwest. The award recognizes The Private Bank’s efforts to stretch its capabilities during the pandemic to work with clients experiencing cash flow difficulties.
Human Rights Campaign’s 2021 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) — Commerce Bank received a score of 90 on the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey and report that measures corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality.