Commerce Bank: Our Differences Make the Difference

by Savoy Staff

Felecia Hogan, Senior Vice President and Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is advancing Commerce Bank’s DEI corporate “Blue Chip” priority, with a four-pillar strategy: community, customer, internal and supplier diversity.

Throughout its 158-year history, Commerce has worked to build relationships based on trust by acting with integrity, holding team members accountable, taking action and striving to be a good example. It’s these values that form the basis of the bank’s continued commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

But DEI isn’t a new concept to the bank. It’s been a key part of the Commerce culture for a long time.

“I’ve had a front-row seat to Commerce’s DEI journey, which started a long time ago,” said Felecia Hogan, senior vice president and director of diversity, equity and inclusion and a 30-year team member at Commerce Bank. “It’s been an evolution from introducing our first company-wide diversity statement in 2004, to establishing training and education programs over the years, to 2020 when our CEO John Kemper signed the pledge for the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, which committed Commerce to a set of actions to make an impact in DEI within its communities and society at large.”

Commerce DEI programs include courses and workshops for team members such as Unconscious Bias, Being an Ally, an Executive Management Committee Mentorship Program to support the professional development of the organization’s diverse leaders, and a Women’s Leadership Development Program, to name a few.

The company embraces differences and raises awareness through its employee resource groups, or ERGs. There are currently five ERGs at Commerce: RISE, for women; EMERGE, for young professionals; VIBE, for multicultural employees; PRIDE, for LGBTQIA+ employees; and SALUTE, for veterans.

2022 Jennings School District

“ERGs are open to all team members and can provide a safe space to have a voice and promote change by bringing team members together based on their social identities or allyship,” adds Hogan. “They help build an environment where everyone is accepted, valued and respected. And that’s important, because when people can be their authentic selves, they can better contribute to the organization’s success.”

In 2020, Commerce made a formal commitment to build on its DEI foundation and elevated diversity, equity and inclusion to “Corporate Blue Chip” status, indicating it’s one of the company’s top priorities.

“Four key pillars were established to support the DEI Blue Chip: Internal, Supplier, Community and Customer,” Hogan said. “The Internal Pillar is designed to increase the diversity of team members, specifically women and people of color, in midlevel, senior and executive management roles. We know people want to see policies and practices in place to make things more equitable, where environments are inclusive, and where diversity is celebrated, not just tolerated.”

“We also look at what we’re doing outside our company,” she continued. “The Supplier Pillar is working to increase the number of diverse suppliers and the dollars we spend with them year over year, which can produce a positive economic impact to our communities. This leads to our Community Pillar, focused on increasing community partnership engagements that support DEI causes and communities. And finally said Hogan, “our Customer Pillar will help improve access and grow the company’s diverse customer base in consumer and business banking and wealth management.”

Since its launch of the DEI Blue Chip in 2020, Commerce has a lot to be proud of.

In 2022, Commerce upgraded their company-wide database of suppliers to help team members conduct a thorough search of available diverse vendors. They continuously improved their DEI Resource Guide to provide tools and actionable resources to help leaders enhance and sustain a diverse and inclusive culture.

Commerce worked with multiple youth organizations, providing financial education, mentorship and branch job shadowing. And it launched Velocity Pay® – a prepaid consumer debit card that can be activated without having access to a checking account. It’s a safe and affordable banking solution to help all customers gain access to traditional financial services.

“There’s so much more to come,” says Hogan. “Thanks to our passionate team members and leaders, Commerce is fully committed to advancing its DEI efforts — both within the company and in the communities where we do business.”

0 comment

You may also like