WASHINGTON — Banks are handing out mortgages of as much as $10 million to the wealthy in record numbers while first-time homebuyers struggle to get loans. Erin Gorman, managing director at Bank of New York Mellon Corp., said she’s fielding more requests for home loans of at least $2 million than ever before. She recently provided a mortgage of more than $6 million for a client’s purchase of a second property in Colorado.

“These high-net-worth borrowers do act differently than first-time buyers, who borrow because they have to,” said Gorman, who serves as the national mortgage sales director. “High-net-worth borrowers don’t have to borrow. They choose to, so they’re very strategic about what, why, and when they borrow.”

The number of loans from $1 million to $10 million to buy single-family homes in the 100 largest metropolitan areas surged to more than 15,000 in the second quarter, the highest ever, according to property data firm CoreLogic.

At the same time, banks are restricting home loans to first-time buyers who don’t have high credit scores. In June, about 28 percent of total existing-home sales involved new buyers compared with an average of 35 percent since October 2008, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The large loans are made to the most creditworthy borrowers and are generally held by banks instead of being packaged into securities.