Zenta Mortgage Services will create 1,002 jobs in Charlotte, N.C. over the next five years, according to an announcement from Gov. Bev Perdue. The announcement comes in the face of market research that shows the city is likely to lose 50,000 jobs yearly due to adverse economic conditions. Based in New York, Zenta is a global financial services outsourcing company, providing mortgage services and real estate analysis. The company currently employs 237 workers in Charlotte and plans to begin hiring in January 2010. Zenta will make the expansion after the state’s Economic Investment Committee voted to award it a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIGs). The grants are performance-based incentives awarded only to new and expanding businesses and industrial projects whose benefits exceed the costs to the state and would not occur in North Carolina without the grant. Companies do not receive any funds up front and must meet job creation, retention, average wage and investment criteria to receive grant funds. The funds equal 60% of the state personal income withholding taxes generated by the new jobs for every year the company meets the requirements, up to nine years. Zenta could receive up to $8.6m in maximum benefits. It could be good news for the less prosperous counties in North Carolina as well. When a JDIG is awarded in one of the state’s healthier counties, 25% of the grant is allocated to the Industrial Development Fund to spur economic growth in harder hit areas. With the JDIG grant going to Zenta, up to $2.87m could be added to the fund. Even though Charlotte’s Mecklenburg County is healthier than some in North Carolina, the city needed the jobs. According to a recent report from John burns Real Estate Consulting (JBREC), Charlotte’s housing and job market has fallen into distress, compared to Raleigh, N.C. Jobs are leaving Charlotte on a 12-month pace of -5.7%, translating to 49,000 jobs a year. But Zenta’s CEO Henry Hortenstine said the Charlotte market has a talented supply of financial services professionals. “The company had alternatives to Charlotte but in the end this was the right decision for Zenta. We are excited about our continued and expanded presence in Charlotte,” Hortenstine said. Write to Jon Prior.
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