This week sees the banks take centre stage as three out of the big four release their interim results. There has been a lot of talk about the sustainability of the dividends they pay and whether they will be able to continue to grow them.

In its results yesterday Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) announced that its interim dividend would remain flat, and today Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) cut its dividend by almost 7%.

With the normally reliable banks not offering a great deal of dividend growth at present, I believe investors in search of income should look elsewhere. Currently, there are four shares in particular on the ASX which I think could be great alternatives for income investors.

Ardent Leisure Group (ASX: AAD)

Ardent Leisure is the owner and operator of a diverse portfolio of well-known brands that include Goodlife Health Clubs, Main Event, AMF, Kingpin Bowling, Dreamworld, and SkyPoint. Its strong growth prospects from its expansion in the United States are expected by analysts to allow it to grow its dividend by 7.4% per annum through to 2018. Currently the company pays an unfranked dividend of 5.9%.

G8 Education Ltd (ASX: GEM)

Childcare operator G8 Education has been able to grow its revenue for nine consecutive years thanks to sustained demand and its growth by acquisition strategy. According to CommSec, analysts believe it will grow its dividend by 10% per annum for the next couple of years. With a fully franked dividend of 6.2% currently, I believe this is a must for income investors.

GUD Holdings Limited (ASX: GUD)

The company recently exited the small consumer appliances market by selling its share of the Sunbeam business to Jarden Consumer Solutions. This now allows the company to focus on its core business which is performing extremely well. The company pays a fully franked dividend of 5.2%, which is expected to grow by a massive 14% per annum in the next two years.

Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX: HVN)

Harvey Norman is another company which is expected to grow its dividend at an above-average rate of almost 12% per annum until at least 2018. At present its shares pay a fully franked dividend of 4.8%, almost half a percent higher than the market average. With market share up for grabs after Dick Smith Electronics shuts its doors, I believe the company could be set for bumper earnings this year.

Dividend shares are a vital part of many investors’ portfolio. For this reason I would highly recommend checking out these dividend shares also. In my humble opinion, I believe they have the potential to take your portfolio to the next level.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.