ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) _ A long wait ended Monday for thousands of Old Court Savings and Loan Association depositors, who could withdraw their money for the first time since the funds were frozen last June 7.

About 17,000 Old Court accounts of $5,000 or less were transferred to Maryland National Bank on Monday as part of the state's plan to return money to depositors of the bankrupt thrift.

The Maryland Deposit Insurance fund prepared checks Monday for the rest of the 34,000 Old Court customers.

The state took control of Old Court after problems last May at the Baltimore thrift touched off a run by depositors that quickly spread to other privately-insured thrifts.

Most of the customers will receive $5,000, the maximum amount available in the first phase of Gov. Harry Hughes' plan to return more than half a billion dollars to Old Court depositors. The rest - those with accounts under $100 - can get back all of their money at once.

There were no lines and no substantial increases in volume at Maryland National branches on Monday, said Jill Springer, a spokeswoman for the bank.

Maryland National purchased the Old Court accounts from the state hoping that most of the former Old Court customers would become Maryland National customers.

But Ms. Springer said that the bank was ''trying to make it as easy and painless as possible for Old Court depositors to get access to their funds,'' by keeping 28 branches open evenings through Wednesday exclusively for former Old Court depositors.

The money transferred from Old Court accounts automatically was placed in Maryland National accounts drawing 5.25 percent interest, Ms. Springer said.

The transfer of accounts to Maryland National and the mailing of checks to other depositors were financed with more than $100 million in state funds advanced to begin the process of paying off Old Court depositors. Additional payments to depositors with more than $5,000 will be made as assets of Old Court are liquidated over the next four years.