The Twin Cities are back on top, boasting the highest average credit score in the nation.
retook the No. 1 spot after losing it in 2011 for the first time in four years. Last year’s champ, Wausau, Wis., fell to third this year.
The scores matter because they reflect the ability of people in a community to get loans. Also, the business credit risk ranking for a city closely tracks consumer credit scores.
Minneapolis residents have an average credit score of 787 out of 990, according to Experian’s State of Credit
report. (The score used is the VantageScore, not the more commonly known 850 FICO Score range.)
According to the report, Minneapolis and St. Paul residents average $24,890 in debt, which is slightly more than the national average. But median family income in the Twin Cities is $83,900, compared to $65,000 for the national average.
The average score for Americans in 2012 is 750, an improvement of one point over 2011.
The Upper Midwest is well-represented in the rankings, with eight of the top ten cities. Six of them are in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Madison ranks second. Sioux Falls, S.D., and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, rank fourth and fifth. Green Bay, La Crosse and Duluth are seventh, eighth and tenth.
The rankings are crueler to the Deep South, with Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia figuring prominently. The worst average credit score in the nation is in the Gulf Coast city of Harlingen, Texas, followed closely by Jackson, Miss., and Corpus Christi.
A key finding in the report is that several cities hard hit by the recession improved. The top ten most improved cities include Bakersfield, Calif., Fort Myers, Fla., Reno and Las Vegas, Nev., and Phoenix, Ariz. -- all poster children for the housing crisis.