Our purpose is to help people focus on what matters most, and this extends to the communities where we live and work. Our goal is to help our communities thrive so that our customers, team members and neighbors can achieve their goals. We are committed to bringing value to our customers, supporting our region’s economy and working with others to make our communities better places to live. To achieve this, we take a strategic, comprehensive approach that includes corporate philanthropic giving, community reinvestment, community service by team members, and community partnerships.
To learn more about the latest work in this area, please see our ESG Report.[PDF]
by Commerce Bancshares Foundation
for over 20 years
Commerce supports a wide range of charitable organizations, all focused on improving the lives of people in the communities where we are located. As our efforts attest, we believe everyone should have access to economic opportunities, affordable housing, education and the arts. We take a strategic, comprehensive approach to building strong communities that involves community reinvestment, corporate philanthropic giving, team member volunteerism and strategic partnerships.
Our ongoing commitment to building strong communities aligns well with our responsibility as a financial institution under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Through the Community Reinvestment Act, we are assessed for the strength of the banking services and access to credit we provide in all our communities, with a special focus on the needs of low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities. On our most recent CRA exam, we earned an Outstanding rating — the highest rating possible — for CRA compliance. We are proud of the Outstanding Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) rating the Company has received for over 20 years for our efforts to support low- and moderate-income communities.
Through regular outreach, we understand and keep community needs top-of-mind as we develop new products and services. Our work in this area includes investment in affordable housing, community services, neighborhood revitalization and stabilization, and economic development in our communities. Our CRA commitments are reflected in our extensive banking center and ATM network, our mobile and online banking services, and the wide range of affordable products available to community members.
At Commerce, we believe safe, affordable housing should be available to everyone and is at the core of stabilizing communities. Our Neighborhood Connection loan program aims to make affordable housing more attainable for people in low- and moderate-income areas in our Kansas City and St. Louis markets. We work closely with nonprofit organizations in our markets, real estate agents and housing agencies to understand the barriers to homeownership. We then apply those learnings when designing our loan solutions.
Recognizing there is often distrust of financial institutions in the areas we hope to serve, we also partner with local organizations to conduct outreach and education in communities. We are grateful for the long-standing relationships we have with nonprofit organizations such as CHES, Inc. (Credit and Homeownership Empowerment Services, Inc.) in Kansas City and Beyond Housing in St. Louis who are trusted in the communities they serve.
Volunteering in the community is central to Commerce’s culture. We take a hands-on role in our communities by providing paid time off for our team members who wish to participate in volunteering. We work with nonprofit organizations throughout our footprint to coordinate volunteer opportunities.
We look to our leadership, team members and local boards of directors to help identify important community needs and priorities. Then, through board leadership and thousands of volunteer hours, we work to leverage our bank’s stability, experience and creativity to generate meaningful impact.
One of the ways we build strong communities is through our investment in financial education. Our team members are available to teach financial classes in partnership with local organizations for students at elementary and high schools with high economic need.
When possible, we find opportunities to help educate community members on special topics, such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in 2020. In that case, we hosted events to help nonprofit organizations and small business owners understand their options under PPP. In doing so, we were able to help organizations and businesses remain resilient during this challenging year.
We also help individuals who are navigating credit challenges. We work with local financial education organizations to refer those who may benefit from their programs. For individuals looking to strengthen their credit, we offer several products that are inclusive of a variety of financial situations and credit needs that could help them build credit. These include Commerce Secured Credit Card and Commerce Free Checking accounts.
For more information, download our Environmental, Social and Governance report.[PDF]