Allied Irish Banks (NYSE: AIB) is the second-largest bank in Ireland by assets. The firm offers various financial services, including lending and capital markets activities. Debt contagion in Ireland has caused the bank to suffer losses in the past two fiscal years, as interest rate changes cause the bank to make less net interest income. In addition, the bank's Irish clients are failing to repay loans, as Ireland's economy is drowning in debt.
AIB is directly and indirectly affected by market conditions. For example, changes in interest rates could adversely affect net interest margin — the difference between the yield the bank earns on assets and the interest rate it pays for deposits and other sources of funding — which could in turn affect earnings. Market risks include fluctuations in interest and currency exchange rates, and equity and futures prices. Such risks affect loans, deposits, securities, short-term borrowings, long-term debt, trading account assets and liabilities, and derivatives. In the past fiscal year, these risks have had a negative affect on European banks, as the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain) have been at risk of default.
A number of AIB's products expose it to credit risk, including loans, leases and lending commitments, derivatives, trading account assets and assets held-for-sale. As one of the Ireland’s largest lenders, AIB relies heavily on accurately predicting how well its customers will repay their loans. The corporation must constantly weigh ongoing economic factors and should they overestimate its customers' ability to repay loans, the bank's overall performance will suffer.