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GulfPak software hitting target in banking industry

Jackson — American Bank Systems (ABS) and Jackson-based GulfPak Corporation, a financial services software firm for the banking industry, have interfaced Windows-based GulfPak with the document management technology of ABS’ BankManager in a product integration that could revolutionize how banks manage loans.

“This will be the next generation for banks to increase their efficiencies in managing loans, updating customer information and tracking compliance,” said ABS CEO James Bruce.

With the integrated program, a bank completes a transaction in GulfPak, which automatically updates the customer’s complete account portfolio in BankManager. Bank personnel, who have been required to manually scan and index loan origination and deposit information paperwork into a separate customer information database, will now have real-time information on all accounts.

“This mutual dedication to the financial industry empowers banks with the best products to better serve their customers with increased speed of real-time, accurate information,” said GulfPak president Jay Tindall.

Offering banking industry software users a better way to manage records electronically has been the hallmark of GulfPak, which has flown under the media radar screen for years, despite growing revenues of nearly $7 million per year, and providing a product used by more than half of the community banks in Mississippi. Nearly 700 banks in 25 states run GulfPak solutions.

“Over the last four or five years, thanks in part to the dot-com bust in Silicon Valley, we’ve been able to bring in experienced software developers and merge the talent base with employees with banking experience,” said Tindall. “On staff today, we have 35 employees with over 300 years of banking experience.”

GulfPak’s chief technical officer is 12-year company veteran Steven Scott Shelton. The company’s two senior programmers have worked together for a half dozen years: Gary Shute, a former programmer for NASA, and Qiang Xiao, Ph.D., who handles computer modeling.

Longtime Jackson businessman Jack W. Robertson Jr. birthed the company before computer-aided programs became instrumental components of banks’ operations systems. He organized Gulf Guaranty Life Insurance Company as a credit insurance specialty company in 1970 that served financial institutions throughout Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee.

In 1985, Gulf Guaranty created the GulfPak division to market loan, deposit and MICR (magnetic ink character recognition) automation products in the tri-state area. The division pioneered products in the automated lending area such as remote printing to branches, compliance-ready documentation, laser MICR printing of checks and loan coupon books, and the first loan and deposit origination systems built specifically for the Windows environment.

“Jack deserves all of the credit for the existence and growth of our company,” said Tindall. “He had the vision in 1985 to start the software division, and the patience and forbearance to stay with it when times were not quite so good.”

On January 1, 2003, GulfPak Corporation became an entity separate from Gulf Guaranty. Since then, the company has added more than 125 banks per year to its rolls, expanded its market area to cover half the country, and inked a deal with ABS to market, train and support the document imaging solution, BankManager.

The company’s leading product, GulfPak Financial Suite, consists of three user-friendly modules — GulfPak Loans, GulfPak Deposits and GulfPak MICR — that provide the financial services industry with software-based business processing solutions that blend improved productivity with regulatory compliance.

“If you take a quality, user-friendly, state-of-the-art piece of software and back it up with exceptional customer service, it’s nothing but a recipe for success, especially when a banker is talking to a former banker, someone who knows their language,” said Tindall.

Approximately 300 people attended GulfPak’s annual User’s Conference, held last month at the Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica.

David Hayes, chairman of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and president and CEO of Security Bank in Dyersburg, Tenn., was the keynote speaker. The three-day event covered a diverse range of issues facing regional and community banks, including technology challenges, evolving network security, compliance trends, legislative and regulatory updates and product demonstrations, updates and training.

“These days, the goal of any bank, regardless of size, is not to merely protect market share … it’s all about growing market share, which means expanding into new markets if necessary,” Hayes told the crowd. “This is not something a bank merely accomplishes by paying the highest CD rates, or giving away the farm to increase checking accounts. The key is knowing your markets and developing your people, processes and tools accordingly to ensure long-term growth, even during tough economic times. This conference has proven invaluable in helping bank leaders learn more about some of those processes and tools needed to operate more efficiently, serve customers more effectively, and ultimately sustain growth.”

GulfPak is in the midst of rolling out new products, including GulfPak Mortgage, a secondary market mortgage solution already in use in 82 Wisconsin banks, and GulfPak Teller, an online teller system due for release in mid-May.

“We feel like, and our customers tell us via testimonials, that our way of doing business is almost unheard of in the banking industry because we do it with a personal touch,” said Tindall. “We’ve worked very hard over the last five years to build that type of reputation in the industry, and when you have it, people are constantly asking, why don’t you do more? We really feel that because we have such a presence in the community bank market, these products are a great fit.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at lwjeter@yahoo.com.


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