Report: Credit scores in Las Vegas near bottom in the nation

Elise Amendola / AP

In another sign of Southern Nevadans’ weak finances, a new report says Las Vegas residents have some of the worst credit scores in the country.

Personal-finance website WalletHub said today that Las Vegas residents’ average credit score, 632.83, is in the 9th percentile — or bottom 9 percent — of the 2,570 U.S. cities it analyzed.

North Las Vegas, with an average score of 623.53, was in the 5th percentile. Henderson, however, with an average of 669.78, ranked in the 47th percentile.

The top-ranked community, retirement hub The Villages, Fla., had an average score of 779.51. The lowest-ranked city, Camden, N.J., had an average of 565.62.

Among other things, banks use credit scores to help determine whether to give someone a loan and what interest rate to charge.

WalletHub said its analysts compiled the report with data from credit-reporting firm TransUnion. The scores were current as of September.

A credit score represents consumers’ financial habits and “tends to speak volumes, most important of which is how well you manage your debts,” the report said.

The findings are the latest to highlight Southern Nevadans’ shabby financial health.

Last January, for instance, the nonprofit Corporation for Enterprise Development, or CFED, ranked Nevada’s overall economic health 48th among the states and the District of Columbia. An advocacy group for lower-income Americans, CFED said many residents here “lack the most basic tools to save and build a secure economic future.”

Two months later, WalletHub ranked Nevada’s financial literacy second worst in the country, ahead of only Mississippi. According to the site, Nevada has some of the highest shares of residents who spend more money than they make, borrow from nonbank lenders and pay only the minimum balance on their credit card bills.

The bulk of Nevada’s population is in Clark County.

The financial reports aren’t the only ones to paint a bleak picture of America’s gambling mecca or Nevada at large, which seem to be ranked at or near the bottom of almost any nationwide study, ranging from unemployment rates, foreclosures and underwater homes to high school graduation rates, suicides, domestic violence and doctor shortages.

Las Vegas’ underwater-mortgage rate, for one, is “terrible” for the valley’s image and could scare people from moving here, Re/Max Benchmark Realty agent Tim Kiernan said last week.

“It doesn’t put us in a good light when we’re No. 1 on all these lists year after year,” he said.