ANNAPOLIS -- Maryland will start a new quarterly payment schedule next month to pay back $408 million to depositors whose assets were frozen in the 1985 collapse of two Maryland thrifts, officials said last week.

Insured depositors have been receiving payments sporadically as the Maryland Deposit Insurance Fund sells assets of the failed Old Court and First Maryland savings and loans and obtains approval for the payouts from a judge.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer revealed the quarterly schedule at a news conference last week on a proposed bill to change the state's medical disciplinary procedures. Under the schedule, the first payment of $16.5 million will be made Feb. 15.

The administration's schedule details payment of $229 million that will be contributed by the state, which has pledged to pay back insured depositors by the end of 1989. An additional $179 million will be paid through 1989 from the sale of assets belonging to the collapsed thrifts.

Lt. Gov. Melvin Steinberg said the state decided to start the schedule to assure the public Maryland will honor its commitment to reimburse depositors.

"There's a tremendous amount of anxiety in the public" over the thrifts, Steinberg said.

The pledge to pay back depositors by the end of 1989 will be watched by Wall Street firms who determine Maryland's bond rating, he added.