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On the Call: Capital One CEO Richard Fairbank

The Associated Press

Working Americans have seen their paychecks reduced this year after a temporary 2 percent reduction in Social Security payroll taxes was allowed to expire, bouncing the rate back up to 6.2 percent.

The change, which went into effect in January and amounts to a $1,000 tax increase for someone earning $50,000 a year, is cutting into Americans' pay. But is it causing some borrowers financial hardship?

Capital One Financial Corp. Chairman and CEO Richard Fairbank tackled that question during a conference call with Wall Street analysts on Thursday to discuss the lender's first-quarter financial results.

QUESTION: There's been evidence that — post the payroll tax cuts — lower-income customers have faced a greater level of financial stress. Have you seen any signs — certainly on an overall aggregate basis, maybe just within some of your lower-income customers — of any kind of weakness from that sub group?

RESPONSE: No. We have looked specifically actually for that effect. There's several things going on, sort of, in the broader political marketplace and we tried to look for any evidence of actually any of those in the actual performance metrics of our customers overall or within a particular segment and we have not seen that.