Jack Henry & Associates and Block Financial have tentatively agreed to develop a home banking product to be sold to Jack Henry's 1,240 financial institution customers.

The product would let a bank's customers conduct a wide range of transactions on the Internet and on Block's network, Compuserve, which has more than four million subscribers. Block is a wholly owned subsidiary of H&R Block Inc. Jack Henry & Associates is a banking software vendor.

With the new product, consumers would be able to check accounts balances, pay bills, and get stock quotes using their personal computers. Users would also have access to nonfinancial services, such as news, weather, and tax software from H&R Block, which said it handled one of every seven tax returns filed last year.

The two companies have signed a letter of intent to develop the product, but it is not immediately clear when it will be available.

"Our customers are looking for a home banking product that is affordable, secure, easy to maintain, simple to access and produces a wealth of information at their fingertips," said Mike Henry, chairman and chief executive of Jack Henry & Associates.

"Because this offering addresses all of these issues, we believe that this is the perfect solution for our customers."

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