Brian W. Thompson joined Commerce Bank in 2004 as president and CEO after serving as president of various banking institutions in New England. Under Thompson’s leadership, Commerce Bank has been recognized as one of the top performing banks in New England.
During Thompson’s tenure the bank has grown to a total of 16 locations and assets have increased to more than $2 billion. During that time he has made community involvement a high priority for both the bank and himself. Community banking is more than a job; it’s his vocation.
“It goes back a long way,” Thompson said. “When I got out of college, I got a job in Springfield in a training program. In those days, everything was a community bank unless you were in a major metropolitan city.”
The bank’s employees regularly support local organizations with their time and talent, and Commerce Bank, in turn, endorses their work with more than $350,000 in community donations and sponsorships every year. A particular focus for Thompson has been supporting the United Way of Central Massachusetts.
“I’ve always been in involved with the United Way since early in my career,” he said. “They collect money through payroll deduction and allocate it where it’s needed most. It’s a very efficient way to support a community.”
Commerce Bank is headquartered in Worcester, where former Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray is now president and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“As someone who has been actively involved in the Worcester and Central Massachusetts community, there are few people that I have met during that time who have been more professional and community-oriented than Brian Thompson,” he said in Thompson’s nomination for a Community Bank Hero award. “Brian is held in high regard by many in our community because of his active involvement on a variety of fronts. Moreover, his advice and guidance is regularly sought out by business and government leaders because of his integrity and depth of experience on both business and community-related issues.”
Thompson sees great promise in Worcester, a city that has tried several times to reinvent itself. The city is in the midst of another renaissance and Thompson likes its chances this time.
“You start with 35,000 college students and the medical school and that complex and a lot of biotech and some traditional businesses too,” he said. “We have a good city government, which is supportive of growth and there’s a whole revitalization going on downtown. They’re building new hotels and market-rate housing. It’s an exciting time.”
“I can’t imagine a more enjoyable line of work than community banking,” Thompson said. “You have great teams, customers and relationships. You get to see your community and how it works. It’s really been a unique experience. I always say to young people coming into the industry that I hope they find the degree of satisfaction that I have.”