Chase posted disappointing fourth quarter numbers today, with profits down 23 percent. Don't fear, though, they pulled in a record $19 billion in profits for 2011. - 

The Pulse slowed a bit today when JPMorgan Chase announced a big drop in fourth quarter net income.

“Net income” is banker-speak for “profits,” and America’s biggest bank announced that those were down 23 percent when compared to the same period last year –- from $4.83 billion in 2010 to a paltry $3.73 billion in 2011. JPM blamed lower fees and revenue from trading stocks and bonds.

It probably didn’t help that they wrote off more than $800 million in soured mortgages -- a hangover from the nearly half-decade old popping of the U.S. housing bubble which they see plaguing their balance sheets for years to come.

“Executives said they expect to write off some $900 million every quarter in soured mortgages going forward,” the Wall Street Journal reported today. They even quoted JPMorgan Chase President and CEO James Dimon as saying, “We are getting killed in mortgages if you haven't noticed.”

To compensate for falling profits, banks and other financial institutions are considering layoffs possibly on the scale of 200,000 worldwide, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. And that’s not just a threat to placate shareholders. Royal Bank of Scotland, Britain’s biggest government-owned bank, said this week it would dump 4,800 employees.

By the way, JPMorgan Chase still managed a record $19,000,000,000 profit in 2011.