PMorgan Chase on Friday announced it made a record annual profit of $19 billion last year, even as banks fretted about increased regulation and mulled the end of a bumper earnings era. The figure smashed the previous annual record by $1.6 billion. \"I am proud of the work our 260,000 employees have done this past year to continue the firm\'s 200-year tradition of showing leadership and responsibility during challenging times,\" said CEO Jamie Dimon. He pointed to increased lending as a sign that the US economy was on the mend. \"As the economy continues to recover, we are gratified to see signs of improvement in loan demand and credit quality,\" Dimon said. But fourth quarter earnings, also reported Friday, came in under par. The firm reported a fall in profits from $4.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010 to $3.7 billion last year. Much of the drop was due to falling investment bank revenues and a debt accounting adjustment. \"The return for the fourth quarter was modestly disappointing,\" Dimon said.