Number of people with subprime credit in metro Atlanta decreases

The number of consumers in metro Atlanta with subprime credit declined by 1 percent in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the third quarter of 2011, according to new data from Equifax.

The total number of people with credit scores of 619 or below fell to 1,275,933 from 1,289,238 in that year’s time.

The drop was seen across the country, with 24 of 25 top metro markets reporting a decrease in the number of consumers with subprime credit scores.

“The job market is improving and time is starting to heal the wounds of the Great Recession,” said Trey Loughran, president of the personal solutions division at Equifax, which is headquartered in Atlanta.

Nationwide, the biggest decrease in subprime credit occurred in metro Chicago, where it tumbled 9 percent.

The only metro area to experience an increase in the number of consumers with subprime credit for the period was Houston, where it increased 0.6 percent. However, when an increase in that area’s population is taken into account, the number there actually decreased 0.5 percent.

Equifax attributed the differences in consumer credit scores from market to market to factors including employment, population shifts and demographic changes.

“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,” Loughran said.

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