The Central Bank has today published a revised simplified Standard Financial Statement to assist borrowers in financial distress after a review.

The SFS is used by banks and lenders to gather information from distressed borrowers on their current financial situation.

Once it is completed, the lender can assess whether it can offer a borrower an alternative repayment arrangement.

The Central Bank said its review found that the SFS was a complex document for borrowers to complete, with some borrowers struggling with the length of the document and having difficulty understanding and gathering the information required.

It said the revised SFS is easier to understand and navigate and is 38% shorter in length that the previous version.

To assist borrowers in completing the SFS, the Central Bank is also publishing a new consumer guide on the completion of the SFS and other guidance material, aimed at enhancing borrower understanding of the SFS and how it should be completed.

The Central Bank said that protection of borrowers in financial difficulty is one of its key priority.

The existing regulatory framework provides a significant number of protections and supports for borrowers in or facing mortgage arrears.

"The Central Bank has reviewed, advocated for and strengthened these rules, when necessary, in order to ensure that the regulatory framework remains fit for purpose and continues to ensure the protection of consumers in their dealings with their financial institutions," it said.

"The amendments to the SFS will further enhance those protections," it added.

The revised SFS must be used by all regulated firms from January 1, 2022.