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Community Development Officer Loura Gilbert Announces Retirement

Crystal Avery-Morris has been appointed to succeed her in the role

Loura GilbertCrystal Avery-MorrisSt. Louis, MO - June 11, 2020 – Robert Holmes, Chairman and CEO of Commerce Bank of St. Louis, announced today that Loura Gilbert, vice president of community development for Commerce Bank, will be retiring after 47 years in the banking industry, of which the last 31 years have been in her community development role at Commerce Bank. Veteran mortgage banker Crystal Avery-Morris has been named Gilbert’s successor.

Gilbert has been responsible for overseeing the bank’s community development activities related to its compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act in the St. Louis region (MO and IL). The Community Reinvestment Act is a federal law enacted in 1977 to bar discriminatory lending practices. She also works with other bankers, housing and economic development corporations and local governments to ensure credit needs are met in the local market.

In addition to her work at Commerce, Gilbert has served on the boards of many nonprofits over the years, including the St. Louis Association of Community Organizations (SLACO), Horizon Housing Foundation, DeSales Community Development, the Missouri Workforce Housing Association (MOWHA), the Local Development Company (LDC) of the City of St. Louis, Gateway Greening, Invest STL, Rise Community Development, the Community Builders Network (CBN) and the St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC). She was one of the founding board members of the Metropolitan St. Louis CRA Association, a nonprofit association for community banking professionals, which launched in 2012.

“Loura started in community development right as the regulations were changing, along with the understanding of how banks could help borrowers in all segments of the communities they serve,” Holmes said. “The community development position didn’t even exist at Commerce at the time when she took it on. She paid attention, understood and saw the need and helped to create this important role. The relationships she has built throughout her career and the consistency she’s brought to the role has made a positive impact on not only Commerce, but the communities she serves and those who need the services she champions.”

Dara Eskridge, executive director of Invest STL, says “I sincerely value the opportunity to work and learn alongside Loura. She has the rare pairing of a social justice and community advocate’s heart with a banker’s brain and pencil, making her intellect for designing community development solutions that ‘stick’ incomparable. I remind her frequently that though she’s retiring from the bank, she doesn’t get to retire from Invest STL’s board just yet.”

Morris started with Commerce Bank on June 1, bringing 20 years of experience as a mortgage banking officer with a concentration in Community Development and LMI/ Majority Minority lending. Gilbert feels the role is in good hands with Morris, whom she knows from working with her at several of the same organizations, including the United Way and the St. Louis Regional Financial Empowerment Coalition. Gilbert is confident Morris will keep community development growing at Commerce.

“Crystal’s commitment and passion for the work is obvious,” says Gilbert of Morris. “She knows the community, the issues and the opportunities. She takes charge of efforts, and she really shines at what she does.”

While relishing the opportunity to spend more time on hobbies like cooking and reading, Gilbert also intends to stay active in the community development world as a volunteer, which has the support of the community organizations she serves.

About Commerce Bank

With $26.8 billion in assets1, Commerce Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBSH) is a registered bank holding company offering a full line of banking services, including payment solutions, investment management and securities brokerage. Commerce Bank, a subsidiary of Commerce Bancshares, Inc., leverages more than 150 years of proven strength and experience to help individuals and businesses solve financial challenges. In addition to offering payment solutions across the U.S., Commerce Bank currently operates full-service banking facilities across the Midwest including the St. Louis and Kansas City metropolitan areas, Springfield, Central Missouri, Central Illinois, Wichita, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and Denver. It also maintains commercial offices in Dallas, Houston, Cincinnati, Nashville, Des Moines, Indianapolis, and Grand Rapids. Commerce delivers high-touch service and sophisticated financial solutions at regional branches, commercial offices, ATMs, online, mobile and through a 24/7 customer service line. Learn more at

1. As of March 31, 2020