Loren D. Carlson, an authority for more than 30 years on public and nonprofit organization finance, particularly public and structured finance processes, died on Thursday. He was 68.
The influential role he played in the early development and expansion of the student-loan business, as well as the novel approach and attitude he brought to the structuring process between issuers and bankers, defined his career.
Early on, Mr. Carlson was one of the first six employees at the Student Loan Marketing Association, or Sallie Mae. There, he learned about the financing of student loans, including Title IV, the Higher Education Act and private loans.
In the 1970s and 1980s, investment bankers who didn’t understand student loans very well would assemble and close the financing for them with little regard for issuers’ needs, said Fred Himmelein, chairman of the board of the South Carolina Student Loan Corp., who worked with Mr. Carlson in municipal finance throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
“Carlson never took that attitude — he was always involved in the actual administration side of the activity,” Himmelein said. “And because he knew the asset so well, he was helpful in structuring financings that worked more efficiently for the issuers than was otherwise the case.”
Mr. Carlson structured the loans so that the bondholders were protected first, Himmelein said. The actual administration of the student loans was funded with enough flexibility so that the executive directors could invest in their programs if they saw opportunities.
Most recently, Mr. Carlson worked at M.R. Beal & Co. in the Charleston, S.C., office, where he was responsible for developing new business and deal execution in the Southeast. Before that, he worked at RBC Capital Markets from the spring of 2004 to the spring of 2008, retiring as a managing director and manager of the student loan securitization group.
Before joining RBC, he worked at William R. Hough & Co., a regional investment banking firm based in St. Petersburg, Fla. Earlier in his career, Mr. Carlson worked at such firms as Blyth Eastman Dillon & Co., Paine Webber, Manufacturers Hanover Securities Corp. and Chemical Securities Inc.
Grant Carwile, a managing director in municipal finance at RBC, worked with Carlson from mid-1994 through the time he retired from the firm in 2008. Carwile noted that Mr. Carlson always acted in a courteous, respectful, thoughtful and ethical manner in all loan-related conversations and transactions. Such behavior was part of the example he set for those in the industry whom he took under his wing.
“He was the mentor for most of the bankers in the student loan industry over the last 20 years,” Carwile said. “He taught most of us how to do this business.”
Mr. Carlson lived in Mount Pleasant, S.C. His family will set a memorial service at a later date.
Instead of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, at www.curePC.org. Online condolences may be sent to the family via www.mcalister-smith.com. Arrangements are being made by the McAlister-Smith Funeral Home, Mt. Pleasant Chapel, at 1520 Rifle Range Road. The phone number is 843-884-3833.