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Asta CEO Upbeat About Bankruptcy Bill

In an exclusive interview with 'StreetWatch,' Gary Stern discusses the new law.
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The bankruptcy bill recently signed into law by President Bush will "only be a positive" for

Asta Funding


, CEO Gary Stern said Wednesday in an exclusive interview on "StreetWatch,"'s

Webcast channel.

The full video interview can be accessed

here. (Please adjust the audio levels on your machine higher than you might normally, because of technical difficulties in the recording.)

Asta Funding specializes in the purchase, management and liquidation of performing and nonperforming consumer receivables. Earlier this week, the Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based firm reported better-than-expected fiscal second-quarter results of 51 cents per share on revenue of $16.7 million. That rose from year-ago results of 38 cents and $12.9 million, respectively.

In the past six months, the company purchased $1.8 billion face value of consumer receivables for $69 million, Stern said, adding that he sees a "big pipeline of paper" and an increase of receivables available going forward.

Stern believes the cost for such portfolios -- which has risen in the past 12 months -- has reached a plateau and will come down in the future.

The $1.8 billion total of receivables Asta purchased included the company's acquisition of Option Card LLC. Stern believes industry consolidation will continue in the next six to 18 months, and that Asta is "fully prepared financially" to make additional acquisitions.

Asta shares were recently up $1.18, or 4.8%, to $26.