The City of Lakes has the highest average credit scores in the nation, according to the new State of credit report from Experian. Midwestern cities topped the list, with regional neighbors Madison, Wis.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Green Bay, Wis. filling out the top four spots.
While the cities with the best credit scores were concentrated in the north central part of the country, the lowest scores were found in the south central. Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi accounted for seven of the 10 cities with the lowest average credit scores, with Harlingen, Texas at the bottom of the list.
To be sure, the spread from top to the bottom of the list was just over 100 points on the VantageScore system. Minneapolis had an average score of 787, while Harlingen averaged 684. Using the letter-grade equivalents often associated with VantageScores, that would give Minneapolis an average score of C+, compared to a D+ for Harlingen.
The cities with the highest and lowest scores were as follows:
1. Minneapolis, Minn.: 787 1. Harlingen, Texas: 684
2. Madison, Wis.: 785 2. Jackson, Miss.: 698
3. Cedar Rapids, Iowa: 781 3. Corpus Christi, Texas: 700
4. Green Bay, Wis.: 780 4. Shreveport, La.: 701
5. San Francisco, Calif.: 780 5. El Paso, Texas: 706
6. Boston, Mass.: 779 6. Monroe, La.: 706
7. Peoria, Ill.: 778 7. Las Vegas, Nev.: 707
8. La Crosse, Wis.: 778 8. Bakersfield, Calif.: 708
9. Seattle, Wash.: 777 9. Myrtle Beach, S.C.: 709
10. Sioux Falls, S.D.: 777 10. Tyler, Texas: 709
The VantageScore system is a proprietary credit rating system developed by Experian and the other two major credit rating companies as an alternative to the dominant FICO system, which remains the primary system used by mortgage lenders and most other lenders.
VantageScores range from 501-990, compared to 300-850 range used by FCIO. Although a general rule of thumb is to multiply VantageScores by 0.86 to estimate an equivalent FICO score, comparisons between the two systems are difficult because they rely on somewhat different criteria in making their rankings.