Mortgage veteran draws lessons from sports contests

Although his beloved Eagles lost the Super Bowl, he is undeterred

Mortgage veteran draws lessons from sports contests

The following article was written in association with ACC Mortgage.

A few days after Super Bowl LVII, ACC Mortgage president Robert Senko (pictured) – a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan – grew contemplative about his team losing the big game. Rather than let the loss ruin his day, he took the time to extrapolate sports lessons that can be applied to business.

“The last time I cried at a sporting event or over a team was the 1980 Eagles when they lost to the [Oakland] Raiders,” he began. Quarterback Ron Jaworski had a lackluster performance during the contest, completing less than half of his passes and throwing three interceptions. Ultimately, the team would fall to the Raiders 27-10.

“Then fast forward to the 2005 Super Bowl and the Eagles lost to the [New England] Patriots,” Senko recalled of that 24-21 loss. Yet after all that heartbreak, the Eagles would win Super Bowl LII in 2018 – avenging their previous loss to the Patriots and winning their first NFL title since 1980 by a score of 41-33.

“You go through those lean years – and hopefully they won’t be too lean – and I take the analogy in business,” he said. “Over my career, when I sold my first company and the group I acquired was bad and I had to essentially quit or be quasi-fired – that was a punch in the gut. Then I set up ACC and going through the trials and tribulations I can say losing is winning. You only get better through those experiences, through those challenges.”

The industry as a whole is experiencing a lackluster season, he noted. “The mortgage industry has been through that over the last year,” Senko said. “It’s been just about a year since the capital markets really started to go haywire. Companies have shuttered.”

Like that Super Bowl played in Minnesota five years ago, the industry’s winter will continue to grip the industry for some time: “I think we have a few more months, but these are the times that make you sharper,” he said. “When I look over my career through each of those downcycles, we’ve gotten better coming out of the back end. I say this a lot, but it’s true. You learn. Where did the market go wrong? What can we do better? What did we learn from that last cycle?”

As a prudent team owner of an NFL team, Senko said he has also had to reallocate resources and shift focus on occasion: “Giving myself a pat on the back, I protected the company, the balance sheet, against the wild gyrations which you know are going to come,” he said.

“We won’t go down a deep capital markets discussion, but trees don’t grow to the sky,” he added. “Yet people build these models where everything always is going to be hunky-dory and then companies shutter, they’ve got to sell equity, owners have to make all these moves. Hopefully, you become better at your craft, at your job, at owning a company and protecting.”

Still stung by this month’s Super Bowl LVII that saw his beloved Eagles fall to the Kansas City Chiefs 38-35, he points to the winning team’s coach, Andy Reid, to extend the corporate analogy further. “At the end of the day, it wasn’t a bad penalty, it wasn’t a fumble, it wasn’t a punt return. They were outcoached,” he said of the Eagles. “Andy Reid put his team into a little better position. We had better players, but they had a better coach – and our coach is excellent.”

As they say in sports: There’s always next season.