As the residential housing boom took over the United States, banks also started to rapidly expand following the residential growth to capture deposits. In my metropolitan area there were several large regional, national and international banks that were really growing and paying high prices for dirt and high visible sites. The bank that really stood out from the rest of the pack was Commerce Bank. Everyone wanted to do a deal with Commerce Bank because they would pay above and beyond the asking price just to secure the best sites.

“Vernon W. Hill II started Commerce Bancorp, and its subsidiary Commerce Bank, in 1973. Under his stewardship, the bank rose to one of the region’s largest banks with a strategy Hill said he borrowed from retail giants such as Wal-Mart rather than traditional large banks, even calling the bank’s offices “stores” not branches.

The bank’s organic growth strategy became extremely aggressive in the past decade as Commerce added dozens of new sites each year. While filling out the Philadelphia region (where it is now the third largest bank by deposits), it entered New York, Washington and South Florida. In addition to its rapid growth, Commerce is also credited with setting the trend by introducing seven-day and longer banking hours, something that many competitors emulated.”

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Over the past 6 months, Commerce Bank and the other banks started to put the brakes on their aggressive expansion plans. I guess this was to move in stride with the housing market and Wall Street. As a all the banks started to get quiet, the high bidder from years past was bought out for a $8.5 billion dollars. Who was the high bidder?

Toronto-based TD Bank (NYSE:TD), the parent of TD Banknorth, who entered the mid-Atlantic region last year with the $1.9 billion acquisition of Mahwah, N.J.-based Hudson United Bancorp. Does this mean that things are going to change at Commerce Bank? Apparently no, but let’s wait and see…

As far as turning to that high paying bank, I am not sure those days are going to come back with the sale.