Jack Henry & Associates, a Monett, Mo.-based developer of banking software, last week acquired Financial Software Systems Inc., of Rogers, Ark.

Financial Software Systems sells payroll processing software. The deal, valued at $600,000, will be accounted for as a pooling of interests.

Terry W. Thompson, chief financial officer at Jack Henry, said Financial Software Systems had reached the upper limit of its growth.

The company, which sells its products primarily to community banks, was founded and operated by one person-owner Gary Neal, who also wrote its software.

Financial Software Systems "has a good product, and he (Mr. Neal) takes care of his customers," said Mr. Thompson. But customers "have been nervous about doing business with him, because he's a one-man shop."

Mr. Neal, who could not be reached for comment, launched his business in 1991 and ran all aspects of the operation, including sales, software installations, and customer support, Mr. Thompson said.

Jack Henry will expand customer support for Financial Software Systems-a move Jack Henry executives expect will make the product more appealing. It also will broadening marketing efforts.

Eighty-eight banks and thrifts and three nonbank financial companies use Financial Software System's product.

Jack Henry employs 450 people and has 1,440 community banking customers. It specializes in core data processing systems and sells software for image-based check processing and automated teller machine transaction switching.

Mr. Neal will join Jack Henry to develop new payroll applications.

The Financial Software Systems product is designed to run on the AS/400 midrange computer from International Business Machines Corp.

The software already has been integrated with Jack Henry's applications.

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