Southern U.S. Cities Rank Lowest In Average Credit Scores

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KEL Credit Repair responds to difficulties in the South by educating consumers on credit and debt management. For more information on credit score ranking and credit restoration, call (888) 552-3655.

Experian, the nation’s largest credit bureau recently released its annual, State of Credit report revealing difficulty in the South.

The report examines statistics pertaining to personal, consumer credit on both a national and local level. Among the 10 cities in the nation ranking lowest in average credit scores, all are located in the South. Three of the cities, El Paso, Corpus Christi, and Harlingen are in the state of Texas.

The bottom 10 cities by average credit score
10. Savannah, Ga. 713
9. Memphis, Tenn. 711
8. Myrtle Beach, S.C. 710
7. El Paso, Texas 710
6. Augusta, Ga. 710
5. Monroe, La. 709
4. Shreveport, La. 708
3. Corpus Christi, Texas 706
2. Jackson, Miss. 702

1. Harlingen, Texas 688
The rankings were done using the Vantage Score system, which examines a FICO score range from 501-990.

The low ranks for southern states are really no surprise, given the state of the economy in the region. "Where we're seeing higher unemployment and lower income, we're also seeing poor credit scores," says Rod Griffin, director of public education at Experian. In fact, the state of Mississippi which ranks second to last in the nation on credit scores is suffering deeply with a 8.5% unemployment rate, much higher than the national average. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate now hovers around 7.7%. The South Texas area has been slow to pull out of a sluggish economy, as well.

In spite of discouraging numbers, there is hope however; as statistics reflect that many southern states are improving in their ability to pay bills on time. The Harlingen, Texas average credit score of 688 has shown a 0.27 percent increase over last year’s score, while Corpus Christi’s average of 706 is a marked improvement of 0.55 in the last year. It isn’t just the South that’s moving in a more positive direction either. The national average credit score as a whole appears to be improving, with a 0.07 percent increase over last year’s score. Surprisingly, the nation seems to be doing better, even with an increase in the amount of debt Americans carry. While the average American holds, $24,890 worth of debt, the average number of late payments the nation made this year, decreased by 2 percent overall. This indicates that generally, consumers are now better able to handle their finances than they were a year ago, and adds Griffin, “The fact that they're increasing their debt load suggests they may have additional disposable income and are able to take on a little more debt."

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Michelle Lozowski
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