The full economic impact of Covid-19 will not be felt until at least the end of the year, the head of Ulster Bank has said.
And Mark Crimmins, who leads the bank's operations in Northern Ireland, predicted rising numbers of personal bankruptcies and company failures within the small business sector.
He said Brexit was becoming a growing worry and that parent company NatWest's view is that there's a 40% chance of a no-deal outcome.
Ulster Bank is the chief sponsor of the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards.
Mr Crimmins, who succeeded Richard Donnan in the Ulster Bank leadership role last year, said judging the awards has been a bright spot during a bleak time.
"It's always a pick-up in morale for me personally," he said.
"It's easy in this role to become quite gloomy but when you see the awards, it's incredible just to see the level of innovation and the quality of genuinely world-competitive businesses that exist."
Mr Crimmins also said the bank now just has 50 staff in its city centre headquarters instead of a projected 1,200.
The bank was to have transferred staff from its former call centre operations at Danesfort in Stranmillis to the Donegall Square building.
But Covid-19 has put paid to the plan. Instead, most headquarters and call centre staff are still working from home, with just about 50 people in the bank's headquarters, he said.
Mr Crimmins said both he and his staff were missing aspects of their normal routines, despite the benefits of homeworking.
"On the flip side, everyone misses the social interaction, being part of a team. And the team itself creates a tempo and a momentum around the business. The variety in the job has been pared back a lot as you're not getting to meet customers and you're not getting to see people."