Description: The article is about commerce bank. The passage introduces the history of the Commerce Bank building in downtown St. Joseph, Missouri. Nowadays,people are prone to use the digital banking services instead of going to the real Bank. The author gives his opinions about that.
Commerce banks building in downtown st. Joseph has a rich history in the banking industry and has impacted the community for many years. The building was completed in mid 1903,the construction started in about mid 1902,it took them only a year to build this building,it was first occupied in July of 1903.
For most of a century,the First National Bank of Buchanan County and later st. Joseph was run by one family. JM Ford was a blacksmith from Forest City Missouri,he moved to st. Joseph and became a founding shareholder in 1894. He became president in 1896 and stayed an executive until his death in 1913.
The National Bank of st. Joseph went through many gyrations after that. The granddaughter of the foreman recently told bank officials that she believed a picture at the bank reveals her grandfather. We thought that our customers and the public in general would enjoy seeing those,we have people that wander around the lobby all the time looking at these pictures,I still love to show them those pictures.
Shortly after we put those pictures up,a lady came in and she said that she thought one of these people in this picture was her grandfather. He was the foreman from the quarry company in northern Arkansas,it was the place where these stones came from. These stones and slabs are numbered like a jigsaw puzzle.
This person was the foreman of the job. There’s a picture of him standing on a wagon. This lady came in and said that he was the foreman on this job she had seen pictures of him. I thought that was interesting.
The architecture and structure gave the appearance that money was safe to customers. They went way out of their way to make the building look like a fortress. There are formable slabs of limestone so it came out looking like a very safe place to put money.
The building was built in the neoclassical style designed by the architects. Ford’s son became president in 1920,at this time the bank building was remodeled including the painting of large murals located in the lobby.
That was the first major remodeling of the bank or updating of the bank’s decor. One of the things they did was commissioned a fellow to paint various murals that pier around the main lobby. It was used to be the mezzanine area of the building.
The murals were painted by the well-known muralist and decorative artist Edward J hole Slog. He was credited with decorative murals in numerous public buildings throughout the western such as California,New Mexico,elsewhere in Missouri,Joplin,Kansas City.
In addition to these murals that you see in the lobby of the bank,he was responsible for the entire decorating scheme. They did a lot of things at that point. They can modernize it in 1920. That is the part that lasts to this day,those murals are still there.
JM Ford the second or known as Jake became president in 1954 and oversaw the bank’s expansion into many other markets until his retirement in 1982. The bank was taken over by the Commerce Banking Group in 1985 which continues to serve the region from the grand century-old building.
All of the commerce banks in the state of Missouri are all under one charter now,but at one time,each of our markets like st. Joseph’s was a legally free-standing bank. The banking law has changed in such a way,we could combine all the banksto gain a lot of efficiencies. Our heritage was a separate bank owned by Commerce Bank shares Inc,it was a bank holding company.
We’ve remained our heritage very decentralized,we have decision makers in the field as opposed to having a much more centralized organization where decisions are made afar. It suited us very well to serve the market in this way.
We hope people feel that this is a very community bank in town,we make decisions on loans and donations. We have access to way more sophisticated products than a community bank can normally have. For that reason,we like to call our banking philosophy the super community banking philosophy.
When Commerce Bank took ownership,there was a move by the FDIC and other parties,they wanted to remove certain icons from the building,Commerce Bank fought the move and won.
They had their eyes on several things around the bank including the murals. They were trying to wrestle away from us in using the purchase and assumption agreement that we signed with them. As a matter of fact,there was one thing they want on the gold scale and even the fireplace.
They wanted to take the fireplace,we successfully fended that off. There were years and years that we thought we were having the worst unemployment in the state. I’m happy to say that those days are gone. We’ve fared better than the state average and the national average.
The quality is going up,they’re more stable jobs.They’re less prone to recession issues,it has been a very good market for Commerce Bank shares. When the unemployment was tougher,we always enjoyed being in st.Joseph from a financial standpoint. We’ve done very well.
The younger people are coming up these days,kids are studying in college or recently they are out of college,they’re way more interested in those things. They have more automated processes such as the phone applications and online banking. A building to them is not necessary. A bank building is not necessary to them,probably it is necessary to our generation.
The far distant future of banking is going to be different. I love old Bank buildings,that’s a tough pill for me to swallow. Today they only want to know how good the phone app is and where the nearest ATM is,those are the things that they want to know. We still have people who come here,it’s almost like a tourist attraction,they come to this building and gawk at the murals,they always enjoy the architecture of our bank.