Robert Stata has seen his share of changes during his 20 years in the subprime mortgage industry.

The onetime salesman-in-training for American Funding Corp. went on to start several successful nonconventional lending ventures, including Apex One, now part of Advanta Corp. He also co-founded Cityscape Financial Corp., which three years ago was one of the fastest-growing up-and-comers but now finds itself on the brink of bankruptcy.

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