Slumping home values and a teetering economy may justify lower revenue projections for the banking industry, but Carol Nelson's work ethic, which she attributes in part to her Japanese-American heritage, has her once again exceeding expectations.

As President and CEO at Cascade Bank and Cascade Financial Corp. in Everett, WA, Nelson has presided over a 20 percent combined increase in personal and business checking deposits in the first half of this year. Personal checking account balances grew by 27 percent and business checking deposits by 14 percent compared with the same period in 2007.

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