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Get to Know Commerce Bancshares

Get to Know Us Commerce Bancshares Inc

Commerce Bancshares at a Glance

Commerce Bancshares At a Glance
Commerce Bancshares At a Glance map

Commerce Bancshares Inc

Our History

Commerce Bank started just as communities were rebuilding after the Civil War. The nation needed to be rebuilt, and Francis Reid Long arrived in Kansas City with $10,000 in capital. He started a bank and was soon funding companies like Long-Bell Lumber, which provided lumber to communities, businesses and the railroads that would connect them to the nation.

Next visionary Dr. W.S. Woods would transform the Kansas City bank into a modern financial institution. Like a true Midwesterner, Dr. Woods liked to help others – even competitors – and was a cautious but generous banker. His philosophy still guides Commerce Bank today: ask questions and learn as much as you can to understand the situation, and only after weighing the situation critically should you act. Then, when moving forward, do it cheerfully, pleasantly and with good will for the customer.

The culture of safe lending and compassionate service continued under the leadership of W.T. Kemper. By the time of the 1929 stock market crash, Commerce experienced losses but, thanks to its prudence, did not take as big of a hit as other banks. When President Roosevelt called for banks to temporarily close, and customers lined up to withdraw their money, W.T. Kemper responded by personally handing out apples. This inspired so much trust in Commerce’s character that some customers stepped out of line. They were validated when Commerce was one of the first banks to reopen after the “bank holiday”.

After World War II the bank once again played 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, a cornerstone for today’s Kansas City International Airport. It even helped the owner of Marion Laboratories buy the Kansas City Royals in 1969. (Commerce is still the Royal’s bank.) W.T. Kemper’s son James also helped establish the Midwest Research Institute, which developed the technology behind M&Ms’ magical coating that melts in your mouth – but not in your hand. 

From the 1960s to the 1990s, Commerce grew alongside the American economy, expanding throughout Missouri, Kansas and Illinois. With each local bank it acquired, Commerce stayed true to its roots by investing in its new communities while remaining diligent about safe business decisions. This emboldened the super-community banking model that Commerce still practices today.

When financial crisis caused a recession in 2008, Commerce once again remained strong thanks to the founding culture of sensibility. Commerce had steered clear of risky mortgages. While other banks filed for bankruptcy and the government spent billions to prop them up, Commerce was the country’s third largest bank to decline government assistance.

Today, Commerce continues to be a friendly, strong bank that supports personal, business and community growth. As they have for 150 years, customers appreciate that all their banking needs are met, and by a bank that is invested in the local community. We continue to build relationships based on trust, sustained performance and a commitment to the health and vitality of the community.

For the full 150-year history, please read “Building Commerce for 150 Years [PDF]*.” 

Officers and Directors

As they manage over 4,000 employees on a day-to-day basis, these leaders uphold the Commerce values of sustainability, collaboration, integrity, empathy and excellence. Leaders in their fields as well as their communities, many are alumni of Midwest universities and serve various organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Missouri History Museum and the Kansas City Public Library.

Our directors lend their deep business and industry knowledge to help our leaders stay ahead of emerging trends and issues. They are Midwest entrepreneurs, industry specialists and community leaders.

Meet our leadership team

Annual Reports

Commerce Bancshares, Inc. operates as a super-community bank offering an array of sophisticated financial products delivered with high-quality, personal customer service. Our customer promise - We ask, listen and solve - is not just our brand, but also our corporate focus. With this platform, Commerce is continually building its long-term franchise while paying strict attention to asset quality and expense control.

Learn more about Commerce in our annual reports:
2019 Annual Report [PDF]*
2018 Annual Report [PDF]*
2017 Annual Report [PDF]*
2016 Annual Report [PDF]*
2015 Annual Report [PDF]*
View the 2019 Proxy Statement [PDF]*
View the 2018 Proxy Statement [PDF]*
View the 2017 Proxy Statement [PDF]*

Mission Statement

Commerce Bank will be the preferred provider of targeted financial service in our communities based on strong customer relationships. We will strengthen these relationships by providing the right solutions that combine our technology, experience and financial strength. Our goal is to create customer loyalty, shareholder value and employee satisfaction.
Be Accessible, Offer Solutions, Build Relationships.

Customer Promise

Our Promise to you - We ask, listen and solve.
They are not just words. They're our way of doing business. We ask about your needs, the ways you like to do things, your financial goals. And we listen. Closely, and not because we're nosey. And, not because we want to "sell" you something. But because in order to solve, we must understand your banking needs and sometimes even your life needs. Only then can we help find personalized solutions for you. At Commerce, it's our promise to you. We ask, listen and solve.


1. S&P Global Market Intelligence; ranking as of June 30, 2020.

2. As of January 2020.

3. As of October 2020.

* To view or print a PDF file, Adobe® Reader® 9.5 or above is recommended. Download the latest version.