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Commerce Bank's new mortgage president brings a wealth of experience to her role.

When Ann Marie Prohaska became the mortgage president at Commerce Bank at the beginning of 2024, she took on her new role with enthusiasm. “There’s a lot of positive transformation happening in our mortgage and home equity lending business,” she says. “We’re positioning ourselves to be even more efficient and customer-centric in the future, and that’s very exciting.”

As mortgage president, Prohaska leads a team of professionals who help guide customers through the home-buying or home-financing journey. “Our team wants to make sure that the process is as easy as possible for our customers,” she says. “I have the honor of leading that team and helping make sure the experience we’re giving our customers is up to the standards we hold ourselves to.”

Prohaska takes over the bank’s mortgage business at a challenging time for the housing market, but she believes it is also a time of opportunity. “We’re getting ready for the future,” she notes.

“We’re investing in new technologies that will make the entire experience of working with us even better. Things will be more user-friendly throughout the whole process, from our online application all the way to the payoff and the servicing system.”

With 30 years of mortgage experience, and nearly 20 years in the mortgage group at Commerce, Prohaska brings a great breadth of knowledge to her new role. “Early in my career I decided I wanted to spend time working in all areas of mortgage banking,” she says. “I’ve been in sales, I’ve been a processor and an underwriter, I spent time in servicing — basically, if there’s a component of the mortgage business, I’ve studied and performed it. Today, that helps me with the big picture, as I have an appreciation for the work our team members are doing. That working knowledge and overarching industry experience is invaluable.”

LeAnn Yost, a senior manager of fulfillment and risk at Commerce, has worked with Prohaska since the latter joined Commerce, and been her manager during most of that time. Yost says she has enjoyed witnessing Prohaska’s career development over the years. “Ann Marie has built her career in the mortgage industry; she hasn’t just dabbled in it,” she says. “She knows it all, because if you name it, she’s done it.”

Yost adds that Prohaska has sharpened her strategic skills considerably as her career has grown. “She has a great balance between knowing the work the team members are doing on a detailed level while still maintaining a strategic viewpoint and helping to move the mortgage group forward,” she says.

Prohaska is careful to note that while she has held many different roles in the mortgage business, there will always be more to learn. “The industry is ever-changing, so nobody will ever know everything there is to know,” she says. “You just have to believe your experience will help you navigate those changes.”

Yost says that in addition to the expertise Prohaska brings to her role, she is also enjoyable to work alongside. “Ann Marie has a fun and informal approach to work,” Yost says. “She’s very welcoming and lighthearted, and she has a great knack for staying connected with her team members on a personal level.”

Prohaska says part of her approach as a leader is to help her team members succeed in their own careers. “One of my favorite parts of my job has always been helping people become better,” she says.

“Some of the proudest moments of my career have come from watching other people succeed. I get joy out of the successes of people I’ve helped along the way and mentored, probably more than my own successes.”

In addition to the work she does to develop members of her team, Prohaska says she finds motivation in the way the Commerce mortgage group makes a difference in customers’ lives. “We do a lot of good here,” she says. “Buying or refinancing a house is a big deal, and it’s exciting, but it can also be a source of anxiety for people. We help remove some of that anxiety by guiding customers through the process and letting them focus more on the excitement of closing on their mortgage and getting the keys to their new home or putting themselves in a better financial situation by refinancing. The work we do is making an impact in people’s lives, and that’s a source of pride. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning.”

Yost believes that with Prohaska at the helm, the mortgage team at Commerce is well prepared for success. “She will take things to new heights,” Yost says. “There’s no question in my mind about that. It feels really good to be able to say that and know the team is going to be successful under her leadership.”

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