Nearly 2,300 men and women from The Canadian Bank of Commerce and the Imperial Bank of Canada enlisted in World War II, 186 of whom did not return home.
The bank sought to assist those who served by altering its administrative policies. Men and women in the armed forces were given an indefinite leave of absence, with an honorarium, and they retained active membership in their pension funds.
Bank employees and their families at home also contributed to the war effort. The women of The Ladies' Auxiliary of the Imperial Bank and The War Guild of The Canadian Bank of Commerce sent scarce items, such as cigarettes, socks and bandages to the men overseas. Soldiers looked forward to a package from the bank.
Those employees who remained at home faced challenges of their own. Short of office supplies, they had to do more with less. They also had to learn how to manage war-related material such as food ration coupons, which the banks began to administer in March 1943. On average, The Canadian Bank of Commerce alone handled 20 million coupons a month. Such work was laborious but considered an essential war service.
As it did after World War I, The Canadian Bank of Commerce published a book after World War II to commemorate those who served. The War Service Records, 1939 - 1945 was published in 1947. It included staff profiles and anecdotes of banking life during wartime.