Keeping Their Commitments


With almost half a century in the payroll business, the Bothwell family knows that missing a deadline isn’t an option.

Whether it comes once a week or twice a month, anyone who works for a living appreciates payday. But for Al Bothwell, that appreciation runs a little deeper.

Because Bothwell, CEO of New Jersey-based Primepoint, has been involved in the payroll process most of his life.

As a high schooler in the 1970s, Bothwell would help his mom print paychecks right in their living room. He recalls, “We would plug in the dollar amount, then pull the lever and the machine would print the check.”

Bothwell’s mother, Bea, started a bookkeeping business out of their house. After a few years, clients asked her to handle payroll services. 

What began as a one-woman operation almost 50 years ago has grown into Primepoint. Now a third-generation family-owned payroll and HR company, with 75 employees and over 2,000 clients.

The first big leap.

In 1987, Bothwell’s brother Dave joined their mom and expanded her business into a new venture: Delaware Valley Payroll. 

In 1990, Bothwell and his wife left their careers to join the family business, moving back home from upstate New York. “We decided to come back and have the kids grow up with their grandparents and help mom grow the business.”

An immediate focus was on technology, which was changing rapidly, often leaving their company with software that was obsolete.

“Early on Dave and I decided that if we’re going to grow the business, we needed to own our technology,” says Bothwell. 

The process was all about keeping their clients happy. “We listened to our clients, found out what their needs were and created those solutions.”

This became even more important a decade later, as the company evolved from Delaware Valley Payroll to Primepoint, offering broader HR services. 

In a competitive industry, that commitment to technology and service helps Primepoint immensely. “Our technology helps us compete pretty well with those billion-dollar companies, says Bothwell.”

A night to remember.

On a late October evening in 2019, Bothwell and his wife, Valerie, were out enjoying a celebratory dinner. They had just toasted to a financial milestone: paying off their home mortgage.

A few minutes later, Bothwell heard a familiar tone and pulled out his phone to check his email. 

The celebration ended abruptly. Bothwell had been notified that Cachet Banq, the automated clearing house (ACH) payment processor his company used, would no longer be processing payment files. For a payroll company like Primepoint, this was a worst-case scenario.

Bothwell and his team had very little time to find another solution.

Beating the Clock.

Getting out millions of payroll checks or direct deposits is no small feat. But it’s made much easier by modern software and the ACH system of electronic bank-to-bank transfers. Without the ACH, paper checks or wire transfers are necessary. 

Primepoint immediately enlisted the help of Bank of America to issue ACH payment files. But Primepoint’s clients would have to fund every payroll ahead of time, as no credit was being extended. 

Bothwell, his brother and their team worked tirelessly to make sure their client’s employees got paid those first few weeks. But Primepoint and their clients needed a long-term solution, and quickly.

Finding a new partner.

Bothwell reached out for advice and some trusted people recommended SouthState (then Atlantic Capital Bank) for payroll processing. So he quickly made a call to Donyale Getz, SVP at SouthState, and it was off to the races.

“Even under the best circumstances, the onboarding process can take six weeks”, says Getz. “We did it in under four.”

Many big steps were involved, like credit underwriting and linking up technology, but it was an all-hands-on-deck situation for both companies.

During the transition, Bothwell said that his clients were very understanding.

“Our clients were so supportive because we were able to promise them a resolution and a timeline. And we were able to do that because Donyale and her team gave us a lot of confidence. It really lessened the overall impact,” he says. 
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“The technology runs really well and any questions we have get answered very quickly. Overall, everything’s been great.”

Al Bothwell - Primepoint

Another celebration.

About a month after the ill-fated celebratory dinner with his wife, Bothwell and his team sent off the first payroll file to SouthState. Then they uncorked some champagne and raised their glasses to their new partners in Atlanta. 

Bothwell says his only regret is that they couldn’t share the toast in person. “But I still have the picture they sent to us on my phone,” says Getz.

Of the ongoing relationship with SouthState, Bothwell says, “The technology runs really well and any questions we have get answered very quickly. Overall, everything’s been great.”

For everyone at Primepoint – and all those workers out there counting on them – every payday is back to normal.

To see how SouthState’s Payments team can help grow your business, contact a banker to learn more.

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