Gary G. Busacca and Nathan J. Kornfeld say they get calls "all the time" from people who want to buy their distressed-asset specialty firm, but they're not biting.

The two, who left Wall Street careers to try their hands at wringing cash from charged-off loans, plan to expand the company instead.

"We're revving it up," Mr. Kornfeld said. "We're looking to acquire other collateral and eventually looking to take the company public."

Tarrytown, N.Y.-based Phoenix Finance Group, founded in January 1997, is offering a "full menu" of distressed-asset services, they said, evaluating, purchasing, and servicing portfolios and evaluating pools for outside lenders.

The company specializes in charged-off retail credit card debt but is working on a joint venture with a mortgage company, which they declined to identify, to offer second mortgages to debt-burdened consumers.

Phoenix also purchased American Financial Consultants, a 15-year-old distressed-asset specialist on New York's Long Island, and is using the company's locator data base and servicing platform to get money from delinquent debtors.

Skip-tracing is an integral part of the process, the partners say.

Mr. Kornfield, 44, was a managing director at Lehman Brothers, most recently as founder of its global asset-based lending unit.

Mr. Busacca, 41, was most recently a Citicorp Securities managing director. He spent 11 years at Lehman Brothers, ultimately as managing director, global distribution for emerging markets.

The two decided to parlay their approximately 40 years of experience on Wall Street into riskier, more entrepreneurial ventures.

Mr. Kornfeld's said his last job brought a lot of solicitations for capital across his desk. Due diligence on these proposals revealed that the distressed-asset industry is highly fragmented and start-up funding costs are minimal, he said.

"Mortgage lending takes a lot of capital, and the B and C market is overpopulated," he noted.

Mr. Kornfeld and Mr. Busacca are cashing in on the contacts they have made in their Wall Street careers to secure funding for the business.

"Our biggest asset is our credibility," said Mr. Busacca.

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