Commercial banks that really care about fair treatment of consumers should adopt "best practices" and avoid certain mortgage lending practices, such as charging prepayment penalties, according to Comptroller of the Currency John Hawke Jr.In a farewell address to the American Bankers Association, Mr. Hawke said he is disappointed that there has been no movement within the banking industry to adopt standards of professional behavior and best practices. He also noted that some banks continue to engage in practices that draw increasing fire from consumers and that should be "shunned" by industry, even though they are not illegal or considered predatory. "I have in mind such things as penalties for prepayments that lock consumers into a loan far longer and more rigidly than is justified by the risk of interest-rate optionality; and toxic combinations of terms, such as negative amortization, balloon payments, demand features, and default interest rates," the comptroller said. Mr. Hawke is stepping down as the top national bank supervisor on Oct. 13 when his five-year term as comptroller ends.

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