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Pawn shops engage in pawn lending, or pawnbroking, as their primary business. The pawn loan is a loan secured by collateral—traditionally small portable items but in recent years has included large items. The terms of this short-term credit arrangement are specified by the pawnbroker, and the borrower has to sign a credit agreement with the pawnbroker. Pawn shops have been a feature of the U.S. economy since its earliest days, and evidence exists that pawn shops have existed since the medieval era. Changes in the pawn shop industry reflect changing economic and cultural conditions in the United States from the late 19th century until today. Beginning as dark stores in poor neighborhoods, the modern industry is more commonly associated with the clean and organized nature ...

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