Across the country, consumers are moving out of the subprime credit score category

Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:30am EST

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Number of consumers with Equifax credit scores below 620 declines in 24 of the
top 25 metro areas
ATLANTA,  Jan. 31, 2013  /PRNewswire/ -- The number of consumers with subprime
credit scores is shrinking across the country, according to new data from
Equifax. The total number of consumers with Equifax credit scores below 620 fell
2.1%, or by about 1 million consumers, in the third quarter of 2012 versus the
third quarter of 2011.  The overall share of consumers with Equifax credit
scores under 620 fell by 0.7% (from 25.9% to 25.2%) during that same period.

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The trend is playing out to varying degrees in different metropolitan areas,
with  Chicago  seeing the largest decline in consumers with Equifax credit
scores below 620. In the  Chicago-Gary-Kenosha metro area, 1.5 million consumers
had a credit score of 619 or below in the third quarter of 2012, a 9 percent
decline from the same quarter in 2011.

On the other end of the spectrum,  Houston  is the only metro area among the top
25 that had an increase in consumers with Equifax credit scores below 620, with
a 0.6 percent increase in the number of consumers in the lowest category when
compared to the same period in 2011.  However, when accounting for population
growth in  Houston, the percentage of the  Houston  population with subprime
credit scores fell by 0.5 percent.

Credit scores below 620 are considered subprime for the purposes of this report.
A consumer with an Equifax score below 620 likely will have a harder time
securing credit from a bank or other lender and may have to pay a higher
interest rate if a loan is secured.

"Consumer credit scores are improving in most major metropolitan areas," said 
Trey Loughran, president of the Personal Solutions division at Equifax. "The job
market is improving and time is starting to heal the wounds of the Great
Recession."

The geographic differences can be attributed to a number of factors, including
employment, population shifts and demographic changes. For instance, in 
Chicago, the unemployment rate declined 1.5 percentage points to 8.8 percent -
the fifth best improvement in unemployment among the largest 25 metro areas.
Also, there are significant improvements in early housing-bust markets such as 
San Francisco,  Sacramento,  San Diego,  Los Angeles,  Las Vegas,  Phoenix  and 
Miami, where people's credit scores are starting to recover after foreclosures.

"It is nice to see that over 1 million people across the country have moved out
of the below 620 range," said Loughran. "We are seeing a trend of consumers
being careful and disciplined about their use of existing credit while also
being cautious about using new accounts they have opened."

Top 25 Metro Markets: Number of Consumers with Equifax Credit Scores Below 620  
Q3, 2012 vs. Q3, 2011

                                                             Total 619 & Below  Total 619 & Below  % Change  
     Top 25 Metropolitan Statistical Areas                   Q3, 2011           Q3, 2012                     
 1   New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island NY-NJ-CT-PA    3,306,563          3,248,660          -1.8%     
 2   Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange County CA                  3,326,552          3,149,559          -5.3%     
 3   Chicago-Gary-Kenosha IL-IN-WI CMSA                      1,688,835          1,536,648          -9.0%     
 4   Washington-Baltimore DC-MD-VA-WV CMSA                   1,545,133          1,528,358          -1.1%     
 5   San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose CA CMSA                  984,035            920,594            -6.4%     
 6   Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City PA-NJ-DE-MD CMSA  1,178,359          1,164,211          -1.2%     
 7   Dallas-Fort Worth TX CMSA                               1,418,294          1,373,994          -3.1%     
 8   Boston-Worcester-Lawrence MA-NH-ME-CT CMSA              848,824            837,057            -1.4%     
 9   Houston-Galveston-Brazoria TX CMSA                      1,288,945          1,296,214          0.6%      
 10  Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint MI CMSA                         1,160,113          1,137,517          -1.9%     
 11  Atlanta GA MSA                                          1,289,238          1,275,933          -1.0%     
 12  Miami-Fort Lauderdale FL CMSA                           1,137,305          1,102,803          -3.0%     
 13  Phoenix-Mesa AZ MSA                                     850,651            819,090            -3.7%     
 14  Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton WA CMSA                        602,351            596,029            -1.0%     
 15  Minneapolis-St. Paul MN-WI MSA                          438,838            428,367            -2.4%     
 16  San Diego CA MSA                                        509,449            482,219            -5.3%     
 17  Denver-Boulder-Greeley CO CMSA                          434,798            428,726            -1.4%     
 18  Cleveland-Akron OH CMSA                                 520,970            518,758            -0.4%     
 19  Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater FL MSA                  647,248            642,954            -0.7%     
 20  St. Louis MO-IL MSA                                     493,859            486,388            -1.5%     
 21  Portland-Salem OR-WA CMSA                               404,681            400,684            -1.0%     
 22  Pittsburgh PA MSA                                       375,265            369,091            -1.6%     
 23  Las Vegas NV-AZ MSA                                     512,930            490,759            -4.3%     
 24  Sacramento-Yolo CA CMSA                                 371,947            348,953            -6.2%     
 25  Orlando FL MSA                                          528,232            521,646            -1.2%     


About Equifax

Equifax Personal Solutions empowers consumers with the confidence and control to
be their financial best. Find out more about Equifax's innovative suite of
credit monitoring and identity theft protection products designed to enable
consumers to maximize their financial well-being at  www.equifax.com.  Get smart
information on everything from credit to retirement, all in one place at the
Equifax Finance Blog,  www.blog.equifax.com.

Equifax is a global leader in consumer, commercial and workforce information
solutions, providing businesses of all sizes and consumers with information they
can trust. We organize and assimilate data on more than 500 million consumers
and 81 million businesses worldwide, and use advanced analytics and proprietary
technology to create and deliver customized insights that enrich both the
performance of businesses and the lives of consumers. Headquartered in  Atlanta,
Equifax operates or has investments in 18 countries and is a member of Standard
& Poor's (S&P) 500 Index. Its common stock is traded on the New York Stock
Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. For more information, please visit 
www.equifax.com.

 

SOURCE  Equifax


Patti Ghezzi, +1-404-290-1996, pghezzi@thewilbertrgroup.com or Michele
Cacdac-Jones, +1-678-795-7885,  michele.cacdac-jones@equifax.com

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