Over the past 12 months the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has fallen by almost 9%.

Meanwhile, the major banks led by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) have all fallen by more than the index.

Even if you haven’t read a newspaper article or a broker’s report in the past year, given the banks’ underperformance it’s reasonable to deduce that the market’s view of the sector has soured.

While some investors will view the lower bank share prices as a buying opportunity, the complexity of analysing a bank’s financial accounts and the apparent headwinds facing the sector from a tightening credit cycle make me wary.

If you’re seeking high-yielding, fully franked dividend stocks, in my opinion there are better opportunities with lower levels of risk available.

Here are three to consider…

IOOF Holdings Limited (ASX: IFL) – the dividend expectations for this diversified financial services provider in financial year (FY) 2017 are for a pay-out of 55 cents per share (cps). With the share price currently trading at $8.06 this implies a yield of 6.8%.

Platinum Asset Management Limited (ASX: PTM)dividend expectations for Platinum (which is one of Australia’s leading international funds management firms) in FY 2017 are 37 cps. With the share price at $6.38 this implies a yield of 5.8%.

Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) – dividend expectations for Australia’s largest telecommunications company are for 31.8 cps in FY 2017. With a share price of $5.53, the forecast yield is 5.7% (source: CommSec).

Do you want to know The Motley Fool's BEST dividend stock ideas?

Forget companies cutting dividends like BHP and Rio Tinto when you can get GROWING dividends.

This "dirt cheap" company. is growing like gangbusters, and trading on a fat dividend yield, FULLY FRANKED. With interest rates set to stay at these low levels for years to come, for income-hungry investors, including SMSFs, this ASX company could be the "Holy Grail" of dividend plays for 2016. Click here to gain access to this comprehensive FREE investment report, including the name of this fast growing ASX dividend share. No credit card required.

HOT OFF THE PRESSES: Motley Fool’s #1 Dividend Pick for 2017!

With its shares up 155% in just the last five years, this ‘under the radar’ consumer favourite is both a hot growth stock AND our expert’s #1 dividend pick for 2017. Now we’re pulling back the curtain for you... And all you have to do to discover the name, code and a full analysis is enter your email below!

Simply enter your email now to receive your copy of our brand-new FREE report, “The Motley Fool’s Top Dividend Stock for 2017.”

By clicking this button, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. We will use your email address only to keep you informed about updates to our website and about other products and services we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from Take Stock at anytime. Please refer to our https://www.fool.com.au/financial-services-guide">Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information.

Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur 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.