Northern Ireland should get a £2 billion "economic kick-start" when customers of the biggest local bank start spending again, its chief executive has said.
Danske Bank said its business and personal customers put an extra £2bn aside last year due to a lack of opportunities to spend and a lack of confidence.
Its mortgage lending had also remained strong with £82m growth across the year.
The bank said it will restore a 90% loan to value mortgage this month, leaving first-time buyers with a smaller deposit to raise.
Pre-tax profits had slumped by 86% last year as the Covid-19 pandemic took its toll.
Operating profit was down 36% from £90.8m to £58.5m.
After £45.4m allowances for bad debts - known as loan impairments - pre-tax profits were down from £90.8m in 2019 to £13.1m.
Yet deposit growth was up 27% year on year to £9.6bn as many personal and business customers paid off debt and built up cash.
Kevin Kingston said he had "run out of adjectives and superlatives" to describe the figure.
"In our 200-year history we have never seen anything like that," he said.
"There is economic potential hiding within that £2bn.
"I passionately believe that when our personal and business customers have the confidence and the opportunity to start spending that money, that will be a key shot in the arm when it comes to getting NI growing again.
"We spend so much time talking about vaccines these days - for me there is an economic shot in the arm sitting within that deposit figure." Spending of the £2bn would be "dramatic in the economic kick-start that it gives", he said.
In the meantime, loan impairments had been greatly increased to allow for financial difficulties among customers.
Mr Kingston said its slump in profits reflected the economy in general.
He added: "There's a substantially reduced level of activity in the economy, there's uncertainty and a lack of confidence. There are signs of distress, particularly among our business customers.
"It will be crucial for the economy to see how many of those businesses survive through to the other side of the crisis.
"Sadly, I do think there are increasing signs of distress, so I do believe that not all will make it."
He said that property businesses with a focus on the retail sector featured on the list of at-risk firms.
But he added: "There are causes for hope. With 5,300 mortgage customers needing repayment holidays over the year, 99% of those have now returned to normal terms.
"In our business book, about 95% of those who needed a break in their repayments have now been restored to their normal terms."
The bank had also approved coronavirus support loans amounting to over £450m for 10,000 customers, of which £395m was Government-backed lending.
Another 675 payment holidays were granted for credit card and personal loan customers.
Interest on overdrafts was also cancelled for around 86,000 customers.
Mr Kingston said he was upbeat about the business opportunities coming from the controversial Brexit protocol.
He added: "I am optimistic in terms of the opportunities I see within the protocol... I know there are businesses wondering how they exploit that position, and that encourages me."