Based on the aggregated intelligence of 165,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, Spanish banking giant Banco Santander (NYSE: STD) has earned a respected four-star ranking.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at Santander's business and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.

Santander facts

Headquarters (Founded)

Madrid, Spain (1857)

Market Cap

$102.7 billion


Diversified banks

Trailing-12-Month Revenue

$39.5 billion


CEO Alfredo Abad (since 2002)

CFO Jose Alvarez (since 2004)

Return on Equity (Average, Past 3 Years)


Dividend Yield



HSBC Holdings (NYSE: HBC)

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) (NYSE: BBVA)

Lloyds Banking Group (NYSE: LYG)

Sources: Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's) and Motley Fool CAPS.

On CAPS, 95% of the 816 members who have rated Santander believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include birdland6147 and Retracement.

Just last week, birdland6147 tapped Santander as a rather bankable bet: "This is a big, strong, well run bank. The public dropped it like a hot potato because it's Spanish, although a large portion of its business is in Brazil, Mexico, and the U.S. Should do very well if and when anyone does very well."

While Santander's shares have rallied nicely over the past three months, they're still down more than 25% year-to-date. Despite the fact that Spain accounts for just a quarter of its business, Santander has traded in lock-step with BBVA, whose Spanish exposure is much higher, and has severely lagged behind global banking foes HSBC and Lloyds. Of course, when you combine Santander's recent returns on equity -- trumping those of American counterparts Citigroup (NYSE: C), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), and US Bancorp (NYSE: USB) -- with the fact that its balance sheet easily passed Europe's stress tests, it's easy to see why Fools are so high on the stock right now. 

CAPS member Retracement elaborates:

Excellent management, great dividend and has been buying premium assets at bargain-basement prices since the middle of last year.

One of the most profitable banks in Europe and one of the most diversified with ever increasing exposure in emerging markets.

And beyond that I have only one more thing to say: valuation, valuation, valuation! Take advantage of the current price, because in one year you will certainly regret it if you didn't, but don't take my word for it. Just do your [due diligence].

What do you think about Santander, or any other stock for that matter? If you want to retire rich, you need to put together the best portfolio you can. Owning exceptional stocks is a surefire way to secure your financial future, and on Motley Fool CAPS, thousands of investors are working every day to find them. CAPS is 100% free, so get started!  

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community. The Fool's disclosure policy always gets a perfect score.