True crime: Real kidnap-hostage guidelines from the 1970s

Big bank in New York in the 1970s

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The banker’s companion (1976)

In a world of terrorism, kidnapping and random violence, nobody can be too careful — or so the American Bankers Association has apparently concluded.

This wallet card, being distributed to top bankers under the ABA’s imprimatur, offers common-sense advice and space for handy phone numbers in case of emergency.

But the ABA refuses to discuss the idea. “To publicize it is to tip off the clever crook,” a spokesman said.

Real kidnap-hostage guidelines for banks in the 1970s

The card: Kidnap-hostage guidelines

“Safety of hostage is paramount”

BE CALM: Get all details. Note mood & characteristics of caller. Attempt to verify identity & condition of hostage. Keep talking. Assure caller of cooperation. Make notes.

ASSESS THREAT: Is it a hoax? Is it genuine? Ask to speak with hostage.

PAYOFF: Explain problems of accessibility of funds, e.g., dual controls & time-locks. Insist on clarification of payoff. Attempt to arrange simultaneous exchange of ransom for hostage.


  • Include attempts to contact hostage at usual locales.
  • Make immediate notifications.
  • Describe vehicle and route to payoff, if payoff is to be made.

Carry with you at all times

NOW SEE THIS: Dog Day Afternoon: About the Oscar-winning Al Pacino movie, and the bizarre real story that inspired it

Your chances of being kidnapped are greater than your chances of being killed in a plane crash (1978)

AIG’s Executive Stress insurance policy

Kidnapping is not a subject anyone wants to talk about. And we wish we didn’t have to. But unfortunately, in today’s times, it’s necessary.

You may not think it can happen to you, but the truth is the number of reported and unreported kidnappings is much greater than you probably realize. And it’s increasing.

An insurance policy is one form of protection every business executive should consider…

We think our Kidnap, Ransom and Extortion policy, which we call the “Executive Stress” policy, is the best, most comprehensive one available.

Chances of being kidnapped - AIG Executive Stress policy from 1978 (1)

Chances of being kidnapped - AIG Executive Stress policy from 1978 (2)

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