Fintech Brings Small-Business Member to CU

Invoices with PAID stamped on them in red ink
Danielle Dyer Photo

2 minutes

Robust products and good service trump brand loyalty.

Desiree Deschamps of Pet Shepherds of MI, LLC, Detroit, had been struggling with invoices and payments since founding her business in August 2015. This March, she read an article about treasury product fintech startup Autobooks, Detroit, in a newsletter for Michigan entrepreneurs and thought, “This is exactly what I’m looking for!”

“I had kind of been doing things manually, creating and emailing invoices for customers and using PayPal for payments,” Deschamps recalls. “But Paypal was getting more expensive.”

Autobooks handles both of these and more, but before discovering the startup, Deschamps reached out to her current financial institution for help.

“One of the large banks had been my personal banking partner for my entire adult life,” says Deschamps. “When I opened my business, it just seemed like a natural transition to open my business account with them. They were very helpful, very friendly, getting everything set up.

That bank “mentioned they had merchant services and could give me better rates, but that department is not in any of the local branches … I could never connect with anyone to actually start.”

Deschamps needed a better payment processing solution and payroll services, and fast, so she contacted Autobooks. The startup had recently finalized an investment deal with a CUSO formed by five Michigan credit unions. $855 million Community Choice CU, Farmington Hills, Mich., was her closest option. “I'd never worked with a credit union before, but they were just as friendly and helpful getting set up. It was a quick and easy process,” says Deschamps.

The new system is working out. “My invoices used to take me hours, three or four hours every week. Now it takes me 30 minutes to do everything. I just monitor it daily,” Deschamps notes. “Not only am I able to receive payments processing, but I'm also able to pay my vendors. It's an all-inclusive system.

“It was a very easy transition for me. It was much more important to have the services I needed from Autobooks than the loyalty I had for [my original bank]," she adds. “My business banking has completely moved over [to Community Choice CU]. I'm in the process of making the leap for personal banking.

“It just makes everything easier to have everything in one place. Simplicity. And their rates are better, as well. My [previous] business bank account was very expensive for the monthly processing fees and for the actual account. Community Choice is much less expensive.”

Danielle Dyer is CUES’ assistant editor.

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