Given bank shares hold cornerstone positions in many Australian portfolios, the past financial year (FY) has undoubtedly been a rough period for many investors.

While the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has slipped by around 6% in the last 12 months, bank shares have all recorded double digit declines.

Here are the approximate share price performances of the major banks over the 2016 financial year.

Those results are obviously disappointing, however, it’s worth remembering that over the past five years Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and Bank of Queensland have all outperformed the index substantially.

Meanwhile, ANZ and Bendigo have only slightly underperformed the index over the past five years. NAB however has been a significant laggard!

What now

Based on forecast data supplied by CommSec, with the exception of Commonwealth Bank, all the major banks appear to be trading on very undemanding price-to-earnings multiples and all banks are trading on attractive fully franked dividend yields.

After a very weak 12-month period for bank shares, the sector (in my opinion) looks more like a hold or buy than a sell.

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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.