Catherine V. Corby, a prominent electronic banking executive, has left Barnett Banks Inc. in Jacksonville, Fla., for the consulting business.

Ms. Corby, still based in Florida, will be alternative-delivery specialist for Earnings Performance Group, a 12-year-old firm known for productivity and profitability improvement programs.

Contributing to a new strategic thrust in retail banking, Ms. Corby will help the Short Hills, N.J.-based firm broaden its expertise in branch strategy.

"We recognize that while the branch will continue to be an important delivery vehicle, we want to be able to tie in alternative strategies and take a more holistic approach," said Earnings Performance Group principal Charles Forbes.

Gerald R. Pacella, a former regional president of First Fidelity Bank in New Jersey, who joined Earnings Performance Group a year ago, leads the retail practice.

On Mr. Pacella's team with Ms. Corby are Lee A. Kremin, a veteran of the firm, and another new arrival, Henry Baker 3d. Mr. Baker, 44, came from Software AG's BankWorks subsidiary.

Mr. Forbes said the "holistic" retail approach should appeal especially to community banks-as small as $250 million of assets-that lack in-house expertise. "We have been underrepresented" in that market, Mr. Forbes said. "Now we are a fully dimensional practice."

Ms. Corby, 39, left Barnett at the beginning of 1997. In her six years there, Barnett conducted a variety of high-profile technology experiments, including an interactive television service with Time Warner Cable in Orlando that went live in 1996.

Barnett also joined the Integrion home banking consortium, of which Ms. Corby was a director.

She reported to Barnett's chief retail banking and technology officer Jonathan Palmer, until he left last year to head an employee-benefits outsourcing venture.

Ms. Corby advocated making the interactive banking experience entertaining, because it had to compete for consumers' attention with other forms of multimedia. At the same time, she argued that it be integrated in overall retail strategy.

"Alternative delivery as a stand-alone business is interesting," she said in an interview this week. "But it gets its leverage and power when it is linked to traditional delivery systems, customer strategies, and product strategies.

"When you use alternative delivery to get costs out of the bank, you can serve customers more efficiently and reach underserved segments of the market."

She said this week that she accomplished what she set out to do at Barnett and wants to spread the knowledge. "I'm a consultant at heart," she said, noting she has worked in that capacity for Booz-Allen & Hamilton and AT&T Corp.

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