It has spent much of the past year at a still-solid but imperfect four-star rank, and recently, Allied Irish Banks (NYSE: AIB) impressed enough top-performing members of our 165,000-strong Motley Fool CAPS community to claw its way to five stars, the top ranking. A total of 2,679 members have given their opinion on the European bank, with many of them offering analysis and commentary explaining the recent optimism.

Allied Irish Banks has its work cut out for it as it looks to recover from the global financial crisis, but many of these interested CAPS members are looking past the bank's troubles and can't pass up the opportunity in its beaten-down shares.

Of course, things still look pretty ugly: Allied Irish Banks posted more losses for the first half of this year because it's still experiencing credit losses and challenges in the Irish economy. Similar to U.S.-based financial institutions like Citigroup (NYSE: C) and AIG (NYSE: AIG) that have been rescued by the government and continue to sell off assets, Allied Irish Banks is looking to sell off its stake in M&T Bank (NYSE: MTB) as well as its ownership in Poland's Bank Zachodni. It is also transferring assets to Ireland's "bad bank," the National Asset Management Agency, which it expects to complete by early next year.

But CAPS members remain bullish on the bank. Along with its peer Bank of Ireland (NYSE: IRE) -- as well as other major European banks like Banco Santander (NYSE: STD) and National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG) -- Allied Irish Banks passed the European stress tests, suggesting the banks are fit to survive potential challenges. Allied Irish Banks' plans to raise more capital this year were included in stress-test calculations, and the government aims to make up the difference if the bank doesn't reach its capital target. The amount of government support the bank has received leads some CAPS members to see the bank as too big to fail, and though bank officials say meaningful recovery in the Irish property market could be one to two years away, they also anticipate growth returning to the Irish economy as early as next year.

Do you think Allied Irish Banks deserves its improved status? Add your thoughts in the comments box below, or head over to CAPS to rate the company and check out all the information the community offers.

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