Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has agreed to acquire Zenta, a leading provider of residential and commercial mortgage processing services in the United States. The acquisition will significantly expand Accenture’s ability to help lenders, servicers and real estate investment trusts (REITS) retool and streamline their operations, enhance the customer experience, and improve profitability in response to new market conditions, while enhancing Accenture’s BPO portfolio. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

In conjunction with the agreement, Accenture is launching Accenture Credit Services, a full-service consulting, technology and BPO capability that will expand its support for institutions in the residential mortgage, commercial real estate, leasing and automotive finance industries. Zenta’s mortgage processing capabilities will be a key component of the service.

“The wave of regulations and a changing credit environment are redefining the competitive landscape of the mortgage industry,” said Terry Moore, global managing director of Accenture Credit Services. “In the residential mortgage business, low customer satisfaction, rising fulfillment costs, and falling pull-through rates — coupled with slower refinancing and purchase activity — are undercutting profitability. On the servicing side, regulatory changes are forcing operational transformation.

“This acquisition will help our clients address these challenges by combining Zenta’s resources and expertise in mortgage processing with Accenture’s long track record helping financial institutions design and execute complex, large-scale business transformations. Zenta’s white-glove approach to mortgage processing will serve our clients well.”

Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Zenta is one of the top three providers of mortgage processing services in the U.S., serving four of the five largest U.S. banks. Zenta’s approximately 3,700 employees are expected to join Accenture. Its services include residential and commercial mortgage origination and servicing, default management, real estate portfolio management, and accounts receivable management. Zenta is also among the largest providers of real estate accounting and capital market analytics to U.S. REITS, institutional investment managers, owners and operators, and investment banks. The company also provides a variety of other credit related services.

“As part of Accenture, we can offer our clients greater scale, a broader range of services and world leading business process expertise to help them meet new market demands,” Henry Hortenstine, CEO of Zenta. “We share a common goal of providing the highest quality service and measurable business value to clients, which makes this an ideal match.”

Accenture’s acquisition of Zenta is subject to closing requirements.

“Mortgage lenders are facing rising costs from new risk management systems, regulatory controls and high internal fixed loan processing costs,” said Craig Focardi, senior research director at TowerGroup, a Corporate Executive Board company. “Financial institutions need to make major business process reengineering changes in their loan origination and servicing / loss mitigation operations. Having strong business partners with deep credit domain expertise at the strategic level and in BPO will be critical.”

Accenture Credit Services offers consulting, process reengineering, systems integration and management, and business process outsourcing services for residential mortgage, commercial real estate, leasing and automotive finance lenders and servicers looking to transform and industrialize their operations. The services are designed to bring significant customer service, efficiency, quality, and profitability improvements to Accenture’s clients’ lending business. Accenture Credit Services serves more than 80 major lending institutions worldwide.

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 223,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$21.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2010.

Founded in 2000, Zenta is a world-class knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) and business process outsourcing (BPO) company, offering a full range of residential mortgage fulfillment and loan servicing support, commercial real estate, capital market analytics, commercial loan underwriting and servicing support, finance and accounting, asset management, collections and contact center services. The company currently employs more than 3,700 resources in the U.S., India and the Philippines.

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