The following video is part of our "Motley Fool Conversations" series, in which senior analyst Anand Chokkavelu, CFA, discusses topics around the investing world.

US Bancorp has had a pretty solid 2012 so far ... especially versus peers like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. Its first-quarter earnings beat expectations and last year's tally, it raised dividends by 56%, and improved its bad debt percentage to 1.3% (a very good figure). It's no wonder US Bank trades at a premium. Anand explains in the following video.

With so many of the big finance firms getting bad press these days, you may be inclined to stay away from the sector entirely, but that could be a mistake. In fact, some of the best opportunities over the next few years can be found there, including one small, under-the-radar bank. It’s been called one of The Stocks Only the Smartest Investors Are Buying. You can learn about it, and more, in our exclusive free report. Just click here to keep reading