Convenience' Banking Developer Steps Down

Hill departs Commerce Bank

CHERRY HILL, N.J. -- The man who created a convenience store retailing concept for banks was forced to step down.

Founder, chairman and CEO Vernon W. Hill II left his position at Commerce Bank NA yesterday, and has announced his retirement as chairman, president and CEO of Cherry Hill, N.J.-based Commerce Bancorp Inc. effective July 31, 2007.

Click here to read CSP magazine's feature on Vernon Hill and his c-store strategy.

The Commerce Bank board said it has restructured the executive leadership team, promoting to a newly created Office of the Chairman three veteran executives who have long been responsible for the bank's strategy and operations.

Board member Joseph S. Vassalluzzo said, Through the leadership of Vernon Hill, Commerce has become an iconic American retailer, redefining banking. Joseph T. Tarquini Jr., an original founding shareholder and board member, said, From a one-office new bank, Vernon Hill has revolutionized retail banking in America while creating tremendous shareholder value and millions of fans.

Also, Commerce Bank has announced that, in connection with previously disclosed insider-related party transactions involving Hill, his relatives and other parties, it has signed a Consent Order with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and Commerce Bancorp has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia (FRB). Under the terms of the Consent Order, the company's board and new leadership team will initiate governance changes and have committed themselves to improve relationships and work more closely with regulators in the future. The company will also continue to cooperate fully with any regulatory investigation of insider and insider-related transactions, it said.

The Commerce Bank board has promoted Dennis DiFlorio to chairman and Robert Falese to president and CEO of Commerce Bank NA. DiFlorio most recently has been president of Commerce Bank, overseeing retail banking, operations, information technology, marketing and human resources. Falese was most recently president of commercial and investment banking and will continue to oversee those functions, in addition to his new responsibilities. Douglas Pauls will remain CFO of Commerce Bank NA and will also become a member of the Office of the Chairman, as will others.