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MEET THE TEAM
Branch Manager - NMLS #197913
Michael Foley is an established mortgage professional with over a decade of experience in the industry. His financial career began shortly after graduating from Arizona State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business and mass communications. He relocated to Fort Worth in 2014, to tap into the thriving Texas real estate market.
Michael proudly accepted the position as Branch Manager for Merit Mortgage. He brings with him his extensive mortgage knowledge and years of experience leading successful teams of mortgage loan originators. Michael believes that the process of obtaining a mortgage is much more than a transaction, it’s about building long lasting relationships with his clients. He achieves this by working closely with his customers every step of the way. He utilizes his sound knowledge of the mortgage industry to offer the absolute best lending options available.
Michael is also an active member in the community and real estate organizations including the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce as an Action Ambassador, and the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors, where he was named Affiliate of the Year in 2017!
Loan Originator - NMLS #1647179
Bryan Upchurch is a husband, father, and mortgage loan originator with Merit Mortgage. He fell in love with Fort Worth in 2012 and enjoys exploring the city with his wife and high school sweetheart, Alyssa, and their son, Josiah (3y) and daughter, Micah Joy (6m). He studied music at Southwestern Seminary where he learned the value of earnest and vigilant attention to detail. He takes with great weight the privilege of guiding clients and friends through their home financing options and equipping them with the knowledge to make informed, confident decisions regarding their most intimate investment.
Senior Loan Originator - NMLS #1487915
Clint Cowan is a Senior Loan Originator with Merit Mortgage and is an expert at making you look like the hero when you arrive at the closing table ON TIME! Unlike many lenders, Clint answers his phone outside normal business hours and is always quick to respond. He becomes your buyer’s guide throughout the entire process so you don’t have to worry about the mortgage. Having a great team that covers all aspects of the transaction makes all the difference.
Loan Originator - NMLS #1589908
Mindy Garcia Carrasco is a bilingual Senior Loan Originator. She has over 15 years of experience in the mortgage industry having worked in all sides of the transaction including title, processing, underwriting and now new loan originations. Her extensive background allows her to guide her clients through each step of the mortgage process from start to finish. She is originally from Fort Worth, Texas and still lives here with her 3 children and her husband of 14 years.
Senior Loan Originator
Evelyn believes that choosing the right mortgage for you is just as important as choosing the right home, and she vows to customize your loan to fit your financing needs. What sets her apart is not only her knowledge and expertise in the business but also her personalization with each client. She will be there in person, every step of the way, from taking your loan application to guiding you through the closing process. She is dedicated to exceeding her client’s expectations while providing the highest level of customer service to both her clients and referral partners.
In her spare time, Evelyn likes to stay just as active outside the office. She enjoys CrossFit, traveling, and spending time with her family here in Texas.
Founder - NMLS #319405
Craig Kautsch has been a lifelong entrepreneur and is the founder of Avocet Ventures, a portfolio real estate company that has cracked the code in providing homeownership to low-income families in DFW. Avocet has been originating portfolio mortgages for over 10 years. His company has made a huge impact in the lives of families that wouldn’t otherwise be able to own a home. He has purchased, restored, and sold over 600 houses in DFW. In 2016, Craig launched Indwell Realty, a business development company where real estate agents can build their perfect real estate career.
Craig is deeply motivated to help high performers excel at work and at home. He has been personally trained by Dr. John Townsend and is a Director in the Townsend Leadership Program. He is also enrolled in the Executive Coaching Graduate Program at the Townsend Institute for Leadership and Counseling at Huntington University.
He is able to draw from his big successes and colossal failures and has extensive experience navigating both. A great balance of scar tissue and high trajectory growth gives birth to his well-rounded and valuable perspective.
Everyone thinks leaders are okay because they appear so strong and capable, but as a leader with first hand experience I know this isn’t the truth. Most leaders aren’t running on all cylinders, because they don’t have a safe place to process their fears and struggles. I know from personal experience that being in isolation can cause you to lose millions. I have a passion for showing leaders the real issues that are holding them back instead of repeating a bunch of strategies and tactics they already know
Founder - NMLS #342413
Lee Ellis, an entrepreneur by nature is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Avocet Ventures, L.P., Indwell Realty, L.P., and Merit Mortgage, L.P. residential real estate brokerage services, portfolio, mortgage lending, and home building companies based in North Texas.
Co-Founded with Craig Kautsch in 2002, the partnership has formed an extremely capable and productive dual owner leadership team.
You will always find Lee working at the heart of the companies Mission, “Helping Families Build Better Lives Through Homeownership”. The company puts a strong emphasis on educating and counseling families in the areas of understanding home loan financing, responsibilities and benefits of homeownership. Due to the extra care and unique lending style, the company has helped hundreds of families achieve homeownership where it otherwise might not be possible.
He is extremely passionate about professional and artistic creativity that produces a positive impact on people and leaves a lasting mark on the world. Whether that is through designing and building a beautiful new home or creating operational systems that allow the businesses to function and serve families at the highest level.
Influencing a culture where growth and living a truly balanced life is of the highest importance, Lee actively influences each company and its operating practices. Driven by a spirit of giving and serving families, the various companies work seamlessly together with the Mission being their ultimate filter.
Lee always strives to perform with standards of excellence, unity, and grace. His personality is persistent and unwavering in determination, while actively waiting on, and by being actively dependent on God.
A proud veteran of the United States Coast Guard and a former Corporate Manager for one of America’s largest privately owned companies; Lee has been a proven and passionate leader since 1981 and a business owner since 1999.
Lee married his wife Kimberley in 1995. They have two beautiful children, Harrison and Sophie and live in Fort Worth, Texas. The family worships at Christ Chapel Bible Church, and are all actively involved with several community service organizations outside of, or in partnership with their own companies.
1 Cor. 10:33
Liz is an experienced loan processor who has been with Merit since its inception. She plays an integral part in supporting our loan officers and their clients throughout the entire home loan process. She manages all third party requests. Liz ensures that all necessary documentation is received from our clients to enable a smooth underwriting process and timely closing. She is experienced with FHA, CONV, VA and Jumbo loans. Liz is fluent in English and Spanish. Her attention to detail and cheerful positive attitude make her an extremely valuable asset to our team.
Liz was born in Mexico City, and was raised here in Fort Worth, Texas. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her family, loves working out at the gym, and likes taking spontaneous trips. She still lives in Fort Worth, with her 2 children and her husband of 9 years
Phoebe Wetsel joined the mortgage industry in 2013. She is passionate about being the guiding hand for families during what may be the biggest, most important transaction of their lives. She understands the importance of being thorough and direct but also nurturing and light hearted while she gets your loan from point A to point Z. In her years of experience she has gained the expertise to be able to comb through unique financial scenarios and create files that will smoothly move through each phase of loan origination. She is seasoned in being the right hand of high producing loan officers that cater to all walks of life.
Phoebe is married to her best friend, Jeff. They have two children- Zeke and Georgia. In her free time Phoebe loves to vacation with her family, go on hikes, lift weights, go to church, listen to Rachel Hollis podcasts, cook, go to the movies, and sing Justin Timberlake in the car with her husband.