Based on the aggregated intelligence of 170,000-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

$102.45 billion

Industry

Diversified banks

Trailing-12-Month Revenue

$43.9 billion

Management

Second Vice Chairman/CEO Alfredo Abad
Third Vice Chairman Matias Rodriguez Inciarte

Return on Equity (Average, Past 3 Years)

13.6%

Dividend Yield

6.6%

Competitors

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (NYSE: BBVA)
Citigroup (NYSE: C)
HSBC (NYSE: HBC)

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

On CAPS, 94% of the 1,013 members who have rated Santander believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include mballiet and Option1307.

Late last year, mballiet tapped Santander as a bankable total return opportunity: "As a 'buy and hold' guy I really like this stock to appreciate in value considerably over the next five years and pay a nice dividend along the way. Banco Santander has over half its retail banks in South America so it's not totally tied to Spain..."

Over the past five years, in fact, Santander has even managed to grow its bottom line at a rate of 9.1% annually. Meanwhile, listed competitors have all experienced large declines over the same period, including Banco Bilbao's average decline of (18.5%), Citigroup's (46%), and HSBC's (25.1%).

Late last year, CAPS member Option1307 elaborated on the bull case:

Solid bank that is relatively well capitalized (in regards to most other banks) and not going anywhere anytime soon. They have been beaten down a lot recently b/c of the EURO "crisis", this is simply a case of taking down the good assess with the garbage ones. Yes, Europe has some trouble spots right now and they will likely continue to have economic difficulties going forward for quite some time, but that doesn't mean that STD is going to go bankrupt.

While they are based out of Spain, ~50% of their income currently comes from Latin/South America. This region is a huge growth engine going forward and will help offset any potential European woes that STD may experience in the near term.

To top it all off, STD pays out a solid dividend, while you wait things out.

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.

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