Senior vice president Central Fidelity Banks, Richmond

When Nancy K. Eberhardt tells fellow bankers what she did for a living before joining Central Fidelity Banks Inc. they scratch their heads in wonderment.

Ten years ago, the 39-year-old Ms. Eberhardt was a research psychologist at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., trying to discover how women in the military would respond in combat.

"There are people who say, |I don't get the connection,'" she said.

As senior vice president of marketing and manager of the bank's retail products group, Ms. Eberhardt uses psychology to pick and probe customers and find out what they want in a bank.

"People want options," she says. "They want to have everything available and be able to select it."

And the more options the better.

Ms. Eberhardt spearheaded the bank's foray into annuities last October and will do the same for its mutual funds when they are launched in February. She expanded a program for customers over age 55, to $3 billion in deposits from $700 million in 1987.

Under Ms. Eberhardt's leadership, Central Fidelity, with $8.3 billion in assets, was the second bank in the United States to adopt statement imaging. Now, more than 50% of the institution's customers receive photo statements of their checks.

She also led Central Fidelity's insurance agency to produce the highest penetration of credit life products among major Virginia banks.

But her biggest accomplishment was determining which branches Central Fidelity should keep during last July's acquisition of the failed Investors Savings Bank, Richmond, a $1 billion-asset thrift with 47 offices.

Her responsibilities included branch site analysis, due diligence on deposit products, and pricing of deposit products.

"Her greatest strength is flawless execution," says Deborah J. Brooks, Central Fidelity's corporate executive vice president of marketing.

Ms. Eberhardt says she plans to stay in banking as long as she's having fun.

"Every time things get a little bit slow down here they give me something new that I really like doing. I'm really happy here," she says.

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