IT WAS a day of tears, tension and disappointment at DBS Bank on Thursday as the first of hundreds of employees were told that they had been laid off.
It is unclear how many staff lost their jobs on Thursday but a DBS spokesperson said most of those earmarked to go will be told by Friday night.
The start of the layoffs did bring a degree of relief to the 7,600 bank staff here who have been nervously waiting to see where and when the axe would fall.
A woman in the corporate banking department told The Straits Times outside the bank's Shenton Way base: 'No one could focus today. It's like our September 11 - the atmosphere was so tense.
'No one, not even MDs (managing directors) knew who would be the next to go. Everyone was just waiting for the phone call. I'm just glad this day is almost over. But we have one more day to get through.'
Experienced managing directors were some of the first to be told they were no longer needed.
One aged 55 told The Straits Times: 'I've given more than two decades of service to the bank. Of course I'm disappointed with the organisation.'
After arriving at his office as usual, he was summoned to human resources by telephone yesterday morning and let go immediately.
At around 4pm in the afternoon, as he walked down to his car, which was loaded with boxes of personal effects, he shook hands with colleagues he had worked with for many years. Others patted him on his back.
'I feel like this could have been done in a different way,' he said.