Asta Funding Inc., an asset-management company that buys unpaid credit card loans and tries to collect them, last week reported a net loss of $5.2 million for the fiscal second quarter ended March 31. The Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based company reported a $7.7 million net loss during the same period last year. Asta reported second-quarter total revenue of $18.1 million, a 46.6% decrease from $33.9 million a year earlier. Net cash collections of consumer receivables acquired for liquidation totaled $36.9 million, down 25.9% from $49.8 million. "Although the collection environment remains challenging, Asta has taken the necessary steps to lower its debt levels as well as maintaining the ability to purchase new portfolios as the opportunities arise," Gary Stern, Asta chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "Pricing has recently become more attractive. However, we will continue to remain cautious during this economic environment and make sure any transactions completed are purchases that meet our targeted internal rates of return."