Building societies came as an alternative to banks and their high interest rates in the 60s and soon became popular among working class people. It's quite a good option for drug dealers, dodgy businessman and all things illegal, and also for people with a bad credit rate. Oops. But... are they safe institutions? According to the Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, Halifax is "A Euphemism for 'go to hell'. The coinage probably derives from association with the saying: 'From Hull, Hell and Halifax, Good Lord, deliver us"