"A pretty receptionist greets you with a smile as you enter the ofﬁce lobby—its walls crowded with department store art, corporate licenses, framed letters from satisﬁed customers—and seats you amidst plastic plants to await your turn. Phones ring, pagers beep, Muzak ﬁlters in and out. At length, you are escorted to the “signing” room—a cramped, windowless enclosure, not unlike the kind used by police to grill criminal suspects—and seated before a tiny wooden table, upon which awaits a stack of legal-sized paper crammed to the margins with ﬁne print. Your loan ofﬁcer enters with the “signer,” handshakes and introductions are exchanged; then he leaves you alone with the stack, the signer, and your thoughts. The signer smiles and hands you a pen.
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