A woman was explaining to Barry Bent why she and her husband couldn't make their mortgage payment, even though her husband had promised Mr. Bent he would do so the day before.

Mr. Bent, an assistant vice president for Delta Funding Corp., was on the phone with the woman, hearing that they had planned to make a payment but, after discussing their finances during dinner, they decided they couldn't afford to pay just now. She's a substitute teacher who hasn't worked in a while.

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