The Personal Division is one of the leading examples of ANZ's initiative to become a very different bank. Under the theme of "More Convenient Banking" we have invested in simpler and more convenient banking services that customers value, establishing a compelling answer to the question, why should customers choose us?
We began by opening branches when our main competitors were shutting their doors. We extended our call centre's operating hours to 24/7. Branch queue times have been reduced and our ATM network has continued to grow.
In the past year we opened 25 new branches, employed more than 300 new full time staff in our branches, and installed 330 new ATMs well over the 200 ATMs we targeted as part of our Customer Charter. In addition to new branches and minor works, we have spent approximately $80 million on upgrading the remainder of our branches.
In August we made a public commitment to extend hours at our branches in 80 major shopping centres across Australia. Participating branches will be open for late night shopping on a Thursday or Friday until 7pm, and/or open on Saturday mornings. In addition, branches with high customer traffic will open for extended hours during especially busy periods, such as the days leading up to Christmas and Easter.
As part of our commitment to delivering More Convenient Banking, our processes and range of products have been made simpler. We introduced new technology to streamline our account opening process, making it easier than ever to switch to ANZ. And we simplified the exception fees on a range of accounts, to make them easier to understand and give people more reasons to switch.
One of the most important ways that our branch network has become very different is less tangible, but it's just as important: we've built an engaged and highly motivated workforce, with the skills and know-how to provide outstanding customer service. Our people who work in Personal have amongst the highest level of engagement of all ANZ divisions. We're proud of this, and see its impact in high rates of customer satisfaction. ANZ tracks customer satisfaction trends through Roy Morgan Research, which measures satisfaction levels of customers (Very or Fairly Satisfied) in relation to their main financial institution. With a main financial institution customer satisfaction rating of 75.5% for 6 months to September 06, we continue to lead the other three major banks. In addition, we were voted "Reader's Choice Award for Best Bank" by the readers of Personal Investor Magazine.
Our specialist businesses have continued to lead the industry in the design of innovative products and services that anticipate the evolving needs of our customers. The introduction of our ANZ Everyday Visa Debit Card is one example. As a result, we have continued to lead the major banks in most key product categories.