Commerce Bank closes its branch at 21st Street and Grove and donates the North Wichita building to three nonprofits.
The bank’s location at 2333 E. 21st Street North will become the home of Create an Inc. campaign, Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce and Camp Destination Innovation Inc.Commerce Bank officials said in a statement on Tuesday.
Commerce Bank will continue to operate out of the location until December 28.
Christina Long, founder of Create Campaign, said the nonprofit is completing the paperwork for Commerce Bank to donate the building to Create Campaign. While the nonprofit has organized events and meetings at other Wichita locations in conjunction with several community partners, the bank building at 21st and Grove will be its first permanent home, Long told The Eagle.
“Our goal is not only to be able to talk about the excitement of entrepreneurship in Wichita, but to make it more accessible to people,” Long said. “This building will be an accessible entry point and a place where people can find resources.”
Monte Cook, CEO and chairman of Commerce Bank in Wichita, said it was no longer possible to keep the branch open. The agency opened 21 years ago as part of a neighborhood revitalization plan, but its small customer base has not grown much and the bank has become more digital.
“It’s never an easy decision to close a branch,” Cook said in the statement. “However, we believe that organizations that move into the space will have a lasting impact on our community by providing training and mentoring services to current and future business leaders.”
Cook said he contacted City Councilor Brandon Johnson on how Commerce Bank could continue to invest in the community, and Johnson suggested the three organizations.
“These are three amazing organizations that are focused on the hard work of growing and supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses in our city,” Johnson said in the statement. “In and of itself, they have a real impact, but being together under one roof to become a one-stop shop for making an individual’s American dream come true is life changing. Great things happen when businesses, cities and service organizations come together to serve the community, and we’re excited to see how this partnership will help develop our citizens.
All three organizations help interested youth and people of color to start a small business. They currently serve about 400 people in the Wichita community, the statement said.
Cook said there would be no job losses with the branch closing; employees will be moved to other sites in Wichita. A new full-service ATM will be installed in the drive-thru area.
The closest Commerce Bank location to the closing branch is on the Wichita State University campus near 17th and Hillside. Additional locations are at 13th and at Woodlawn and Central and Main.