That’s how the local newspaper described it back in August of 1904 when stockholders of the new Bank of Commerce voted on their first slate of officers. The newly formed bank opened in temporary quarters in the offices of T.R. Henderson — a respected medical doctor who served as charter member and first president of the Bank of Commerce.
Regardless of the “flattering prospects” described by a 1904 news article, nobody knew quite what to expect from the county’s youngest and smallest financial institution. But it didn’t take many years to find out.
On an otherwise quiet Saturday afternoon in 1930, the Bank of Commerce once again made local headlines…”Panicky Withdrawals Close Local Banks. Only Bank of Commerce Remains Open for Business After Wilson Liquidation.”
A long-time Greenwood resident and Bank of Commerce customer describes the scene: “Dr. Henderson stood out in front of the bank and said, ‘folks, if you want your money, come and get it.’ He had great bags of coins and bales of currency stacked in the windows where people could see it. As a result of that, not many people took their money out, because they wanted it in the Bank of Commerce where it was safe.”
Greenwood’s trust in the Bank of Commerce remained strong, growing as the bank and its officers became more and more involved in community activities. Working hand in hand with the people of Leflore County, the Bank of Commerce survived the Great Depression and remained stable as the New Deal years evolved into the War Years.
Just as it had supported the “dough boys” of World War I, the Bank of Commerce took an active part in the “home front” war efforts of the 1940’s. Steps were taken to serve the special needs of civilians and soldiers assigned to the Greenwood Army Air Field. Funds were made available to the USO for refreshments and entertainment of troops. And war bonds became the business of the day. Rallies, personal contacts and advertising were all aimed at increasing the sale of these bonds. In fact, only one newspaper advertisement during the war years dealt with any other subject. It was a single ad on August 8, 1944, which celebrated the bank’s fortieth anniversary and promised sound banking to support the “future progress that the Greenwood area seems destined to enjoy!”
As the community grew and the progress predicted in that ad took shape, the Bank of Commerce held on to its sound banking policies and neighborly traditions. In doing so, it earned a reputation among many community leaders as being staunchly conservative. In spite of this conservative image, perhaps because of it, the Bank of Commerce has remained stable and strong. How? By maintaining a personal touch and quietly leading the way toward more convenient, efficient service. The Bank of Commerce was the first bank in town, for example, to use Recordak for photocopying all checks passing through the bank. The first to offer a night depository. The first to provide a drive-in window. The first to use remote control pneumatic tubes for more efficient service at drive-in windows.
As technology continues to change, the Bank of Commerce changes with it. And, after more than 100 years of steady service, the Bank of Commerce is still opening new financial doors offering options that make banking as convenient as possible for our customers.