Allied Irish Bank (NYSE:AIB) seems to have set aside some solid green in the first half of 2005. With a reasonable valuation, a good dividend, and solid management, it may be worth considering for investors seeking a little overseas exposure.

For the first half of the year, the bank saw 15% growth in earnings per share, fueled by overall deposit growth of 6% and overall loan growth of 11%. Like almost every other bank on the planet, the flattish interest rate curve took a chunk out of the company's net interest margin, reducing it 18 basis points to 2.55%. While Allied Irish and nearly every other bank have moved beyond relying solely upon loans and deposits, the net interest margin is still a valuable indication of the profitability of a bank's lending operations.

Looking at the various segments, pre-tax profits in Ireland were up 34%, while the Great Britain/Northern Ireland business saw growth of 13%. The company's Polish operations chipped in 17% pre-tax growth (in local currency), and the capital markets business grew its pre-tax profit by 33%. As previously reported, M&T Bank (NYSE:MTB) also had a solid quarter; Allied Irish owns a sizable piece of this company.

The bank made considerable strides in improving profitability across the board, and bad debt expense improved substantially. In addition, Allied Irish's return on assets for the first half ticked down slightly to 1.23% (from 1.28%), as did the return on equity (20.1% vs. 20.3%), but both numbers are still quite respectable.

Investors have no shortage of options when it comes to overseas banks. India's ICICI Bank (NYSE:IBN) offers a high-growth play on the subcontinent, while Banco Itau (NYSE:ITU) and BanColombia (NYSE:CIB) give you exposure to Latin America.

For Europe, investors can opt for the high-yielding Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation Lloyds Group (NYSE:LYG) or the Dutch companies ABN Amro (NYSE:ABN) or ING Group. I'd argue that Allied Irish is a solid in-between option. While this company offers a dividend that is certainly not chump change, it's also a reasonable growth opportunity.

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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).