The year 1998 will be a turning point for the subprime lending industry, analysts believe. And right now, few executives are looking like a survivor than James Moore.

The chief executive of New York-based Contifinancial Corp. has spent the year bracing his company against an impending storm: buying retail originators to improve profitability, allying with correspondents, carefully tracking and screening loans, revising assumptions, and moving Contifinancial toward a cash-positive balance sheet.

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