Mark L. Sarlson / Roetzel & Andress | Profiles
When not reviewing documents and meeting clients, Mark Sarlson walks trails, takes care of his land, enjoys listening to music and spending time with his sons.
He also enjoys spending time with his daughter when she is in town.
He started his career as a litigator and turned to the processing of business loans, representing both lenders and businesses in these transactions. Sarlson estimates that he has taken out approximately 1,800 small business loans during his career and many middle market loans.
Born in Akron, he moved to University Heights at the age of 6. He attended Temple-Tifereth Israel and graduated from Hawken School, University of Virginia in Charlottesville with a BA in History and Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University in Columbus with a Law degree.
At Roetzel & Andress in Cleveland, he divides his practice between middle market lending and US Small Business Administration lending.
CJN: What do you find interesting in your work?
Sarlson: Negotiating loan documents is constantly interesting because you usually receive feedback that you may not have received before, so there is always a new argument on why a provision should or should not be kept. in the document.
CJN: How has COVID-19 changed what you do?
Sarlson: I have a client, they are probably the largest non-bank SBA lender in this business. And what they did in a short period of time, probably within 45 days, we made, documented, closed and funded around 300 PPP loans. So that was obviously a direct result of COVID, and in terms of our process, it was very difficult. They did not actually close their office during COVID.
CJN: How has technology played a role?
Sarlson: With these, we were able to electronically sign documents because we simply could not have processed 300 loans in a very short time if you had to meet with every borrower.
CJN: What has stayed the same?
Sarlson: We still had a large demand for SBA loans in general. People are still able to buy buildings. We didn’t want to put it all on hold and put people’s plans on hold. So even in March I continued to meet people, sometimes to be safe we literally signed documents on the hood of my car.
CJN: What’s good about helping small business owners get loans?
Sarlson: There is something satisfying about what small businesses are able to accomplish with their loans. You know, it might be a company that only employs 10 people, but for those 10 people, it’s their livelihood. And for the owner, it is often a business that they pass on to their children.
CJN: Who is your pet peeve?
Sarlson: A general pet peeve – and I guess that’s sadly even more true today than it perhaps had been – a reluctance to listen to a position contrary to your own. At a minimum, people should listen. They might not have to agree with it, but they should listen and try to come to some kind of understanding.